Friday, April 18, 2008


I got to see the original sketches for the House on Pooh Corner by E.H. Shepard at the Victoria & Albert Museum...
When I see original sketches like these it makes me really excited. Usually (as was the case with these) they are in some small hallway, not really in a place of prominence but still lovingly displayed. I think that seeing the actual document gives me a sense of intimate connection with the artist. E.H. Shepard is rather a big celebrity in the world of children's book illustrators. Looking at the actual graphite shows me how he thought, how we are similar, how we are different... he becomes a peer more than an idol... and then after a moment of technical criticisim... the nostalgia planted in my being at an early stage of life bursts from my depths and into a smile that says "Pooh!!!" finally I am reduced to the excitement of finding an old friend in an unexpected place.

He had murmured this to himself three times in a singing sort of way, when suddenly he remembered. He had put it into the Cunning trap to catch the Heffalump. "Bother" said Pooh. "It all comes to trying to be kind to Heffalumps." and he got back into bed. But he couldn't sleep... he tried counting sheep and as that was no good, he tried counting Heffalumps. And that was worse. because every Heffalump that he counted was making straight for a pot of Pooh's honey, and eating it all.

"My tail is getting cold. I don't want to mention it, but I mention it. I don't want to complain but there it is. My tail's cold"

There was also a sketch by Edward Lear...

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Lear's "pussy" looks a little peeved...reminds me of my old cat that I had (very cleverly) named "Hissy"


Anonymous said...

Yes, the flattened back ears say it all don't they? I like the original Heffalumps so much better than ones that made the book. How lucky you were to find friends like these in England. Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the owl bit. There is a slight moisture near the corner of my left eye. DOD