Some of earliest drawings of Christopher Robin (minus Winnie the Pooh) go on sale

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The Independent Online
A SET of previously unpublished drawings of Christopher Robin are expected to fetch up to pounds 15,000 when they are sold at auction next month.

The four part sketch is thought to be among the first pictures that EH Shepard ever made of the little boy and do not feature his famous bear.

They were created to illustrate Missing, a poem by AA Milne which was published in Punch early in 1924, and a similar drawing was later included in the children's book of Verse, When We Were Very Young, which made both writer and illustrator famous.

The piece of paper, which has been carefully preserved was given to the present owner by Shepard's daughter-in-law and will be sold on 8 December.

David Park, of Bonhams books and manuscripts department, said: "These are certainly among the earliest sketches of Christopher Robin which Shepard later developed. They were made at the time when Shepard had to decide how tall he would be and what he would look like and they don't differ that much from the final drawings."

Also included in the sale is a rare oil painting by Shepard showing his wife Florence inhaling the scent of white blossom in the garden. It is thought to have been done shortly after the artist and his wife moved into Arden Cottage, Shamley Green, Surrey, following their marriage in 1904 and is expected to fetch pounds 3000.

An original Shepard pen and ink illustration of Christopher Robin dragging Winnie-the-Pooh upstairs, which was included in the eponymous book, is expected to fetch up to pounds 30,000 at auction on 17 December.

Winnie the Pooh memorabilia has a dedicated following and all early works by either Shepard or Milne are guaranteed to fetch high prices. Six drawings for the 1926 original book, Winnie the Pooh, fetched nearly pounds 25,000 at auction this year.

Growler, the original teddy bear which inspired Shepard's drawings of the much-loved bear, came to an unfortunate end when he was savaged by a dog after travelling to Canada with Shepard's wife and daughter for safety following the outbreak of World War II.

Shepard, who began contributing a weekly drawing for Punch magazine in 1907, was asked by Milne to illustrate the Pooh stories in 1926. He died in 1976.