"CAPTURED THE HEARTS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WORLDWIDE": FIRST EDITIONS OF MILNE AND SHEPARD'S POOH BOOKS, SPLENDIDLY BOUND
MILNE, A.A. The Four Pooh Books: When We Were Very Young; Winnie The Pooh; Now We Are Six; The House At Pooh Corner… With Decorations by E.H. Shepard. London: Methuen, 1924-28. Four volumes. Small octavo, contemporary full blue, green, red and brown morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines and covers, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in custom slipcase. $8500.
First editions of A.A. Milne's charming "Pooh Quartet"—the volumes of verses and tales that immortalized Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh and their friends from the Hundred Acre Wood—enchantingly illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, beautifully bound in pictorial morocco-gilt by Asprey.
"One would have to search far and wide to find fictional characters as beloved to so many readers. Although Alan Alexander Milne wrote novels, short stories, poetry and many plays for adults… it is his writings for children that have captured the hearts of millions of people worldwide and granted Milne everlasting fame" (Silvey, 461). "On a rain-blighted holiday in Wales, [Milne] escaped from the crowd of fellow guests to the summerhouse, and for 11 days wrote a set of children's verses… 'There on the other side of the lawn was a child with whom I had lived for three years [his son, Christopher Robin]… and here within me were unforgettable memories of my own childhood'" (Carpenter & Prichard, 351). Ernest Shepard provided delightful line vignettes, resulting in "a wonderful marriage of verse and vision" (DNB); they "add so much to the books that most people consider them to be inseparable from the texts" (Silvey, 462). One pair of original pictorial endpapers from Winnie-the-Pooh, trimmed, bound in at rear. House at Pooh Corner without frontispiece. Payne I.A-IV.A. Cutler & Stiles, 115-16.
Interiors generally quite clean. Only minor restoration to upper corner of pages 43-44, Winnie-the-Pooh. Bindings beautiful and fine. A wonderful set of these children's classics.