Ever since they were first published in the 1920s, generations of children worldwide have known and loved the universe created by AA Milne in his Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
After two years of hard work, Fanø Kunstmuseum in Sønderho has managed to secure the exclusive rights to exhibit a number of EH Shepard’s original hand-coloured drawings from the Pooh books, as well as some from ‘The Wind in the Willows’, which he also illustrated.
Shepard’s drawings have previously been shown at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre in Paris as well as in Japan and the US, so the little museum is in extremely good company.
Moving up the league tables
Helen Roberts, the curator of the EH Shepard-archive at Surrey University, is the person who decides where the drawings can be shown. She had never heard of the little museum, but was impressed by their enthusiasm.
“As far as I could ascertain, this is the first Shepard exhibition in Denmark ever, and definitely the first on Fanø,” she told Politiken.
Preparations are going full-steam ahead at the local museum, which is largely run by active pensioners and local volunteers. A Shepard illustration showing the Hundred Acre Wood and Pooh’s world was recently sold for 3.6 million kroner, so security and fire alarms have to be state-of-the art.
“I thought we should try and do something on Fanø that could move this museum up into a totally different league,” museum board member, local volunteer and initiative-taker Jan Egesborg told Politiken.
“Shepard’s drawings are fantastic – totally poetic. I’ve loved them since I was a child and don’t think any other children’s book illustrator comes close,” he added.
‘The Magic World of Winne-the-Pooh’ will be shown from June 29 to September 1 at Fanø Kunstmuseum, Nord Land 5, Sønderho, Fanø.