The original illustrated map of The Hundred Acre Wood, which featured in the opening pages of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, is to be auctioned.
Described by Sotheby’s Dr Philip Errington as “probably the most famous map in English literature”, it will go on sale with four other illustrations.
The E.H. Shepard images have not been seen in public for nearly 50 years.
They are estimated to fetch between £310,000 and £440,000 when they go on sale at the auction house in July.
The map illustration was first sold by Sotheby’s in 1968, where it fetched £650, before the auction house sold it again to a private collector two years later for £1,700.
One of the other illustrations shows Christopher Robin and Pooh saying their goodbyes, while the others feature Eeyore, Rabbit and a game of Pooh sticks.
The map, which also features in the Disney film released in 1966, is expected to sell for £100,000 to £150,000, according to the auction house.
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The auction comes amid an increased interest in illustrations from collectors, according to Sotheby’s senior specialist Dr Errington
“They’ve never been brought out in the UK or the US with illustrations by anyone else apart from EH Shepard and that is the power, and ability of the illustrator, and why this is probably the most famous map in English literature,” Dr Errington said.
A.A. Milne was born in Hampstead, London, in 1882.
He had a string of hit plays and edited magazines before creating the Pooh books in the 1920s while he lived in Ashdown Forest, near Hartfield in East Sussex.
Shepard and A.A. Milne worked together on four books – Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), The House at Pooh Corner (1928), a poem about the bear in verse book When We Were Very Young (1924) and Now We Are Six (1927).
‘Christopher Robin’, a new film based on Milne’s characters, is due to be released by Disney in August.