Pooh bear and Jeremy Fisher as you've never seen them before

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Indy Lifestyle Online
LOST drawings of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin by EH Shepard and Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter will be published for the first time when they go on sale at Sotheby's today.

They have been tempted out of obscurity by record auction prices fetched for other works by the artists - pounds 78,500 for a Shepard at Christie's and pounds 39,500 for a Potter at Bonhams.

Saved from the rubbish dump, the Potter ink drawing, one of seven featured in a letter she wrote in 1893 to a son of her former governess, is the first appearance of her famous frog - The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher was not published until 1906. Her letter tells how Mr Fisher went fishing for minnows and pricked his finger on a stickleback. He got cross and went home and all the little fish laughed at him.

The last public appearance of the letter was at Sotheby's in 1947, when it fetched pounds 50. Years later, it was rescued by a young girl in Connecticut, in the United States, from a box of books left to be dumped by the former owner of a house she had moved into with her parents. It is estimated to fetch pounds 40,000.

The ink drawing of Pooh and Christopher writing letters - both pensive, Christopher sucking a pencil and Pooh scratching his snout with a quill - is one of three drawn by Shepard for admirers. The owner remembers them from childhood, hanging in frames above the fireplace of his home near Chester. His mother was given them in the 1960s by a friend.

Unpublished Poohs lack the nostalgia value of those that were reproduced in AA Milne's books. Nevertheless, the drawing is expected to fetch pounds 10,000 to pounds 15,000 and another two, showing Pooh alone, pounds 6,000 to pounds 8,000 each.

John Windsor

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