Surrey

Unseen Winnie the Pooh sketches to be auctioned after decades under bed

Piglet, Pooh, Kanga and Eeyore Image copyright Ewbank’s Auctions
Image caption The drawings are expected to fetch between £2,000 and £3,000 each when sold at auction

A woman found two sketches of Winnie the Pooh - drawn for her by illustrator EH Shepard - in a box under a bed where they had been kept for 60 years.

The artist whipped up the unsigned originals for Tina Thornber after his wife invited her to their home in Guildford, Surrey.

Mrs Thornber, who worked at a hairdresser's at the time, said she had no idea who her client's husband was.

The artworks are expected to fetch up to £3,000 at auction next month.

Mrs Thornber recalled: "I was a teenager, about 17 or 18, working at Stewarts the hairdresser in Guildford.

"Mrs Shepard was one of my clients and one day we were talking about art and I was saying how I liked drawing.

"She told me that her husband drew and invited me to visit them at their home so that he could do me a drawing.

"I went up there on my bike and when I arrived went into his study where he drew me the pictures."

Image copyright Ewbank’s Auctions
Image caption One ink sketch features Pooh and Christopher Robin

Mrs Thornber rediscovered the drawings when she was clearing some of her things, and added them to other items she was putting aside for auction.

"I didn't really think about them until the auction specialist took an interest. I was amazed," she said.

Dating back to 1959/60, one ink sketch features Pooh and Christopher Robin, while the other shows a queue for "Tikits" at the railway station, with Piglet, Pooh, Kanga and Eeyore.

Shepard was the illustrator of Winnie the Pooh and its associated stories, which were created and written by AA Milne.

"Unseen works like this by EH Shepard are a rarity these days," said auctioneer Chris Ewbank.

"It is even rarer to have a consignment with primary source provenance that places the consignor in the room with the artist as he drew them."

The drawings have been given estimates of between £2,000 and £3,000 when they go under the hammer at Ewbank's Auctions on 28 November.

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