[Lodsworth, West Sussex]: , 1955. Item #01938
A Scarce Original, Autobiographical Drawing
Not to be Pooh-Pooh'ed
SHEPARD, E[rnest] H. Boccherini's Minuet and the Caliph of Baghdad [Lodsworth, West Sussex, ca. 1955-1957].
Original pen-and-ink drawing by renowned illustrator Ernest H. Shepard of himself at age seven, with his sister Ethel, a few years older, depicting them in practice during a screeching violin lesson. Image size: 3 3/4 x 6 7/16 inches; 95 x 164 mm. Signed with initials at lower left. Additionally signed in ballpoint pen on back "E.H. Shepard / Woodmancote / Lodsworth / Sussex". Matted, framed and glazed.
A delightful image of Shepard's childhood, which originally appeared in his autobiography, Drawn from Memory (1957), and was later reproduced only once, on page twenty-seven of The Work of E.H. Shepard by Rawle Knox (1979). Found on page thirty-three of Drawn from Memory, it is captioned, "My little fingers never seemed to be in the right place."
"Once a week we all three of us [siblings] had a music lesson. We had violins of different sizes and were taught by Mr. Cruft... It was dreadfully tedious having to play scales and my fingers never seemed to be in the right places, but it was better when I was promoted to Boccherini's Minuet. By that time Ethel could rattle along with The Caliph of Baghdad" (Drawn from Memory, p. 33).
"When I am gone
Let Shepard decorate my tomb
and put (if there is room)
Two pictures on the stone:
Piglet from page a hundred and eleven,
And Pooh and Piglet walking (157) . . .
And Peter, thinking they they are my own,
Will welcome me to heaven."
- A.A. Milne, inscription to Shepard's copy of Winnie-the-Pooh
Ernest Howard Shepard (1879-1976), "was born only a five-minute walk from the birthplace of A.A. Milne, but it would be many years before their first meeting when their names would be linked for all time to one of the most loved of all bears... He contributed a weekly drawing to Punch for many years. He was perhaps the most-loved illustrator of 'children's' books, best remembered for When We Were Very Young, Winnie-the-Pooh, Now We Are Six and The House At Pooh Corner, Kenneth Grahame's classics The Wind In The Willows, Dream Days and The Golden Age and a book which later became the favourite reading of Christopher Robin Milne, Bevis, the Story of a Boy by Richard Jefferies.
"Shepard's autobiographical books, Drawn from Memory (1957) and Drawn From Life (1962) are joyfully written and present a superb picture of England's upper middle classes. His drawings in over fifty books frequently poked fun at social contretemps and domestic perplexity, especially where children were involved. His illustrations continued to show extraordinary vigour and vivacity throughout his long working life.
"In his eighty-ninth year, he visited old friends and relations in Cape Town, Durban, Perth, Sydney and Tasmania, returning through Tahiti so that he could look at Gauguin relics" (Peter Dennis, Poohcorner).