I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- it's a funny old world and no mistake. As I may have mentioned on occasion, my office is something of a treasure trove when it comes to unusual stuff. As an example, I was rooting around some boxes this morning looking for something or other (I forget what) when I ran across two picture frames, each holding three pencil sketches of Winnie the Pooh.
My dear old mom gave these to me as a birthday present more than 30 years ago. As I recall, she found them at a tiny hole-in-the-wall antique shop at the bottom of our road. I have no idea how they managed to hide themselves away in my office.
I do like pencil sketches in general, and these little beauties have always held a certain fascination for me. One of the sketches shows Pooh and Piglet walking along. Underneath is an annotation (also in pencil) saying: "Do you think it's a Woozle?" Another sketch shows Pooh hanging under a balloon with the annotation "Chap I, P.15." I vaguely remember thinking that maybe the creator of these sketches was simply practicing his or her drawing skills by copying them out of one of the Winnie the Pooh books.
I took the little rascals to show them to Bruce, who sits in the office next to mine, because he's a graphic artist. I thought they might interest him.
Bruce pointed out lots of little details that had passed me by. Of particular interest are a signature and date and annotation on one of the sketches: "E H Shepard, Now we are Six, P.89, 1927."
OMG! Ernest Howard Shepard (1879-1976) was an English artist and book illustrator. He's particularly famous for illustrating all four of the books featuring Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne. The main books, of course, are Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928), but Milne also included a poem about Winnie the Pooh in the children's verse book When We Were Very Young (1924), along with many more in Now We Are Six (1927).
I know I have all four of these books somewhere. I sort of thought they were here in my office, but -- wouldn't you know it -- I can't find them anywhere. I wonder if they are available online. I can't wait to go through them and compare my rough proof sketches to the final illustrations in the books. I also wonder what else is lurking in the depth of my office.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting