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Future Exhibitions

Block print pf Winnie-the-Pooh sitting on a branch with jars of honey on either side of him.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic

June 3–September 2, 2018

The stories of Winnie-the-Pooh—a much-loved bear with a weakness for honey—have delighted both children and adults for more than ninety years. Generations of readers have been captivated by the adventures of Christopher Robin and his bear, and today Pooh remains one of the most popular children’s characters of all time.

Pooh and his companions Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga, and Roo were created by the writer A. A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard. Their partnership combined Milne’s humorous wordplay with Shepard’s expressive drawings to create an extremely successful style of storytelling. Since Pooh first bumped down the stairs in 1926, millions of copies of Milne’s books have sold, and the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood have found a home in the collective imagination of readers worldwide.

This exhibition, organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, explores the history and legacy of Pooh through original sketches, photographs, memorabilia, and letters. The exhibition also includes interactive elements that bring Shepard’s illustrations to life.

Winnie-the-Pooh Musical at the Alliance
Concurrently with the exhibition, the Alliance Theatre at The Woodruff Arts Center will present “Winnie-the-Pooh” (June 8–July 9, 2018), a musical based on Milne’s beloved stories. This collaboration is the High and the Alliance’s fourth in a series of exhibition and theatre productions based on the work of children’s book authors and artists.

About the Author and Illustrator

Winnie-the-Pooh was the result of a fruitful collaboration between author A. A. Milne (British, 1882–1956) and illustrator E. H. Shepard (British, 1879–1976). Both Milne and Shepard had well-established careers by the time they started their partnership in the mid-1920s and had been introduced through Punch, a popular magazine that poked fun at politicians and British society through cartoons and humorous articles.

Black-and-white photo of A. A. Milne with Christopher Robin on his lap with a teddy bear.
A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin

Milne began writing in earnest as an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge, and in 1906 became assistant editor of Punch. By the mid-1920s, he was an accomplished writer of humorous verse, social satire, fairytales, and plays, and had even published a murder-mystery novel.
 

In 1920, when Milne became a father, he turned to the nursery and his own childhood for inspiration. His first collection of children’s verses, When We Were Very Young, was an immediate bestseller. The publication of Winnie-the-Pooh two years later assured Milne his legacy as “laureate of the nursery.”

Black-and-white photo of E. H. Shepard writing seated in a chair.
E. H. Shepard

Shepard was also a regular contributor to Punch starting in 1906, and he sent sketches from the frontline during the First World War. In autumn 1923, an associate at Punch invited Shepard to illustrate Milne’s children’s verses. Shepard’s drawings perfectly complemented Milne’s humor. His style—in particular, his economy of line, lively detail, and sense of movement—was well suited to the text. Following the overwhelming success of When We Were Very Young, Milne insisted Shepard illustrate some new stories about a bear named Winnie-the-Pooh.

Pooh Goes to Print

Pooh was first presented to the public in previews of Milne’s verses and stories, which appeared in magazines in the UK and United States beginning in January 1923. Magazines like Punch had a wide readership, so by the time the verses and stories were published in book form, they were already well known. When We Were Very Young (1924), Winnie-The-Pooh (1926), Now We Are Six (1927), and The House at Pooh Corner (1928) became known collectively as the Christopher Robin books. By 1928, they had already earned “a unique place in nursery literature.”
 

Sky blue "When We Were Very Young" book cover featuring a black and white drawing of Pooh looking into a full-length mirror.
Yellow Winnie-the-Pooh book cover featuring a black and white drawing of Pooh climbing on a tree branch.
Red book cover for "Now We Are Six" featuring a black-and-white drawing of Christopher Robin walking up the stairs as Pooh lies on a lower step.
Orange book cover for "The House at Pooh Corner" featuring a black and white drawing of Pooh, Christopher Robin, and Eeyore trying to catch Tigger as he falls from a tree.

© Egmont UK Ltd

Below, learn about some of the milestones in Pooh publication history.

Photo of pages from a magazine from 1923 featuring "The Dormouse and the Doctor."
© The Pooh Property Trust

“The Dormouse and the Doctor,” The Merry-Go-Round, November 1923
Milne wrote “The Dormouse and the Doctor” for a new children’s magazine, The Merry-Go- Round. It was illustrated by Harry Rountree, who specialized in anthropomorphic animals. The magazine editor, Rose Fyleman, especially liked the verse and advised Milne to write an entire book of children’s verses.

Photo of a 1924 printing of "Teddy Bear" in Punch.
© The Pooh Property Trust © The Shepard Trust

“Teddy Bear,” Punch, February 13, 1924
Milne’s verses appeared regularly in Punch from January to June 1924. “Teddy Bear” introduced the bear who would become known as Winnie-the-Pooh. Shepard added to the humor in his illustrations: though “proud of being short and stout,” the bear scrutinizes an advert for “THINNING BATH SALTS.”

Photo of a 1925 copy of "Winnie-the-Pooh" in The Evening News.
© The Pooh Property Trust

“Winnie-the-Pooh,” The Evening News, December 24, 1925
The Evening News printed Milne’s first Pooh story, “Winnie-the-Pooh and some Bees,” on Christmas Eve, 1925. It was illustrated by Punch artist J. H. Dowd, whose scruffy little boy perfectly embodied the adventurous spirit of childhood.

Photo of a 1927 copy of "Waiting at the Window."
© The Pooh Property Trust © The Shepard Trust

“Waiting at the Window,” The Royal Magazine, September 1927
Verses from Now We Are Six appeared in the American Harper’s Magazine from early 1926 and in the UK’s Royal Magazine from early 1927. Even when not mentioned in the text, Pooh and his friends “sat down on some of the pages by mistake”—an ingenious marketing ploy.

Photo of a 1926 printing of "The House at Pooh Corner" from The Evening News.
© The Pooh Property Trust

“The House at Pooh Corner,” The Evening News, December 23, 1926
A year after it introduced a bear called Winnie-the-Pooh, The Evening News announced a new story, “The House at Pooh Corner.” Although Shepard’s name was already inextricably linked to Milne’s, the paper once again commissioned J. H. Dowd for the illustrations.

Photo of a 1927 printing of "Tigger Comes to the Forest."
© The Pooh Property Trust

“Tigger Comes to the Forest,” Sails of Gold, New York, 1927
Lady Asquith’s children’s anthology, Sails of Gold, featured a newcomer to the forest: Tigger. Like Shepard, A. H. Watson captures Tigger’s boisterous energy and enthusiasm, but she conjures a rather different setting: her trees are real, but the houses are pure make believe.

 

Organization and Support

This exhibition is organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

 

Logo for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

 

 

 

Support for the High’s presentation is provided by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

This exhibition is made possible by

Premier Exhibition Series Partner

Exhibition Series Sponsors

 

Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters
Tom and Susan Wardell

Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones

Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Marjorie and Carter Crittenden, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Howell Exhibition Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund

Inaugural Grandparents Circle of Support
Spring and Tom Asher, Anne Cox Chambers, Shearon and Taylor Glover, Sarah and Jim Kennedy

2018 Grandparents Circle of Support
Sandra and John Glover

Additional support provided by
Lucinda Bunnen, Lavona Currie, Peggy Foreman, Nena Griffith, Ellen and Tom Harbin