Ernest Howard Shepard ( British, 1879 - 1976 )
Winnie-the-Pooh is as beloved today as it was when it was first published in 1926 by the novelist and playwright Alan Alexander Milne. Two years earlier, Ernest Howard Shepard was commissioned to illustrate the children’s story. He worked closely with Milne at the author’s country retreat in Ashdown Forest, England, bringing Milne’s characters to life through simple linear illustrations like these. Short quotes from the first publication accompany the two displayed here. On the top right, Christopher Robin dries Eeyore’s tail with a handkerchief above the caption “I’ll dry it for you.” Below, Pooh, Eeyore, and Piglet are shown with Pooh’s signature pot of honey and the line “It’s a useful pot, said Pooh.” Before his work on Winnie-the-Pooh, Howard was a successful illustrator working for book publications and for Punch, a British weekly humor magazine. His delightful and spirited drawings, such as Mary Jane on the top left, remained an indispensable source of joy for late 20th-century readers.