E. H. Shepard

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Ernest Howard Shepard
Fellow of the Royal Academy
Born (1879-12-10)10 December 1879
St John's Wood, London
Died 24 March 1976(1976-03-24) (aged 96)
Battles/wars World War I
Awards OBE, Military Cross
Other work Artist and book illustrator

Ernest Howard Shepard OBE, MC (10 December 1879 – 24 March 1976) was an English artist and book illustrator. He is known especially for illustrations of the anthropomorphic soft toy and animal characters in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.


Shepard's house in Lodsworth, marked with a blue plaque

Shepard was born in St John's Wood, London. Having shown some promise in drawing at St Paul's School, he enrolled in Heatherley's School of Fine Art in Chelsea.[1] After a productive year there, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy Schools: in 1899, a Landseer scholarship, and in 1900 one at the British Institute.[2] where he would meet Florence Eleanor Chaplin who would become his first wife.[3] By 1906 Shepard had become a successful illustrator, having produced work for illustrated editions of Aesop's Fables, David Copperfield, and Tom Brown's Schooldays, while at the same time working as an illustrator on the staff of Punch.[4] They bought a house in London after marriage in 1901. But a few years later in 1905 had moved to Sharnley Green, near Guildford. Shepard was a prolific painter showing in a number of major exhibitions. One was at the Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham a traditional venue for generic painters. As well as in England he also exhibited in the more radical atmosphere of Glasgow's Institute of Fine Arts, where some of the most innovative artists were on show. He was twice an exhibitor at the prestigious Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, one of the largest and most important provincial galleries in the country, and another at the Manchester Art Gallery, a Victorian institution now part of the public libraries. But at heart Shepard was a Londoner showing sixteen times at the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. His wife Eleanor was also a painter, who found a home in London's West End venue for her own modest output during a 25-year career.[5]

Although in his mid-thirties when World War I broke out in 1914, Shepard received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery, an arm of the Royal Artillery.[6][7] By 1916, Shepard started working for the Intelligence Department sketching the combat area within the view of his battery position.[8] On 16 February 1917, he was made an acting captain whilst second-in-command of a siege battery, and briefly served as an acting major in late April and early May of that year, when he reverted to the acting rank of captain.[9][10] He was promoted to lieutenant on 1 July 1917.[11] Whilst acting as Captain, he was awarded the Military Cross for his service at the Battle of Passchendaele. His citation read:[12]

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.
As forward Observation Officer he continued to observe and send back valuable information, in spite of heavy shell and machine gun fire. His courage and coolness were conspicuous.

By war's end, he had achieved the rank of major.[13]

Throughout the war he had been contributing to Punch. He was hired as a regular staff cartoonist in 1921 and became lead cartoonist in 1945 but was removed from this post by Malcolm Muggeridge, who became editor in 1953.[14]

Shepard was recommended to A. A. Milne in 1923 by another Punch staffer, E. V. Lucas. Milne initially thought Shepard's style was not what he wanted, but used him to illustrate the book of poems When We Were Very Young. Happy with the results, Milne then insisted Shepard illustrate Winnie-the-Pooh. Realising his illustrator's contribution to the book's success, the writer arranged for Shepard to receive a share of his royalties. Milne also inscribed a copy of Winnie-the-Pooh with the following personal verse:[15]

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 that they are my own,

Will welcome me to Heaven.

Eventually Shepard came to resent "that silly old bear" as he felt that the Pooh illustrations overshadowed his other work.[16]

Shepard modelled Pooh not on the toy owned by Milne's son Christopher Robin but on "Growler", a stuffed bear owned by his own son. (Growler no longer exists, having been given to his granddaughter Minnie Hunt and subsequently destroyed by a neighbour's dog.)[17] His Pooh work is so famous that 300 of his preliminary sketches were exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1969, when he was 90 years old.[18]

A Shepard painting of Winnie the Pooh, believed to have been painted in the 1930s for a Bristol teashop,[19] is the only known oil painting of the famous teddy bear. It was purchased at an auction for $243,000 in London late in 2000.[20] The painting is displayed in the Pavilion Gallery at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.[21]

Shepard wrote two autobiographies: Drawn from Memory (1957) and Drawn From Life (1961).[22][23]

In 1972, Shepard gave his personal collection of papers and illustrations to the University of Surrey. These now form the E.H. Shepard Archive.[24]

Shepard was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1972 Queen's Birthday Honours.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Shepard's grave at Lodsworth church

Shepard lived at Melina Place in St John's Wood[26] and from 1955 in Lodsworth, West Sussex. He had two children, Graham (born 1907) and Mary (born 1909),[27] who both became illustrators.

Works illustrated[edit]


  1. ^ Chandler, Arthur R. (2000). E.H. Shepard, The Man Who Drew Pooh. Winkinswood Farm, West Sussex, UK: Jaydem Books. pp. 27–31. ISBN 978-1-903368-02-2. 
  2. ^ Chandler (2000), p. 33.
  3. ^ Chandler (2000), p. 37.
  4. ^ Chandler (2000), p. 51.
  5. ^ Johnson and Greutzner, p. 457.
  6. ^ Chandler (2000), p. 59.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29405. p. 12570. 17 December 1915. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  8. ^ Chandler (2000), p. 69.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30051. p. 4315. 4 May 1917. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30383. p. 11818. 13 November 1917. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30315. p. 10142. 28 September 1917. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30188. p. 7244. 17 July 1917. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  13. ^ Bryant, Mark. World War I in Cartoons. London: Grub Street Pub, 2006, page 9, ISBN 190494356X.
  14. ^ "E.H. Shepard: Winnie the Pooh" Archived 4 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine..[full citation needed]
  15. ^ "Icons: The Man Who Drew Pooh" Archived 20 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine..[full citation needed]
  16. ^ "The Man Who Hated Pooh". Archived 21 July 2007 at WebCite.[full citation needed]
  17. ^ Chandler (2000), p. 92.
  18. ^ Howard, Philip (16 December 1969). "Show at Pooh Corner". The Times (57744). 
  19. ^ http://www.poohcorner.com[full citation needed]
  20. ^ "Winnipeg outbids art lovers for Pooh painting". CBC News Canada. 16 November 2000. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "Art in the Park – Pavilion Gallery Museum Collections". Assiniboine Park. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  22. ^ Shepard, Ernest H. (1957). Drawn from Memory. London: Methuen. 
  23. ^ Shepard, Ernest H. (1961). Drawn from Life. London: Methuen. 
  24. ^ "The E.H. Shepard Archive". University of Surrey. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. 
  25. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 45678. p. 12. 3 June 1972. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  26. ^ "More homes with literary credentials". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 5 January 2014. 
  27. ^ Millie Arnet; Michelle Frisque; Beth Kean; Elizabeth T. Mahoney. "Resource Guide – Ernest Howard Shepard". The Elizabeth Nesbitt Room Illustrators Project. University of Pittsburgh ULS. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Chandler (2000), pp. 172–174.

Primary sources[edit]

  • Shepard, Ernest H. (1957). Drawn from Memory. London: Methuen. 
  • Shepard, Ernest H. (1961). Drawn from Life. London: Methuen. 

Secondary sources[edit]

  • Arnet, Millie; Frisque, Michelle; Kean, Beth; Mahoney, Elizabeth T. "Resource Guide – Ernest Howard Shepard". The Elizabeth Nesbitt Room Illustrators Project. University of Pittsburgh ULS. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  • Chandler, Arthur R. (2000). E.H. Shepard, The Man Who Drew Pooh. Winkinswood Farm, West Sussex, UK: Jaydem Books. ISBN 978-1-903368-02-2. 
  • Johnson, J.; Greutzner, A. (1988). The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940: An Antique Collector's Club Research Project listing 41,000 artists. Woodbridge, Suffolk. 
  • Howard, Philip (16 December 1969). "Show at Pooh Corner". The Times (#(57744)). 

External links[edit]