E H Shepard
Born on 10th of December 1879
Died on 24th of March 1976
E.H. Shepard (for the record Ernest Howard, but forever referred to by his initials) would probably be a good bet for the title best known British artist – or at least best known work by a British artist. Not only did he illustrate A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books (one is inclined to think there was a shortage of full names in their era), subsequently made still more famous by Disney, but he also illustrated Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (the fourth tried and the only one liked by the author).
The son of an architect Shepard had artistic talent from the outset, winning a place and scholarship at a precocious age at the Royal Academy School. He is closely associated with Punch, though it took years for him to get his first acceptance, finally scoring two in 1907. He contributed to the magazine with jokes sent from France during his WWI service, and became a staffer on his return. Shepard’s artistic ability was useful in his military role, sketching enemy positions for military intelligence. When the war ended he was a major, and held the Military Cross.
After Malcolm Muggeridge ended Shepard’s by then irregular contributions to Punch in 1953, Shepard didn’t retire but continued to blossom as a children’s book illustrator, living to a ripe old age in his beloved Lodsworth in Sussex. In 1969 he donated a large number of his Winnie the Pooh sketches to the Victoria and Albert Museum; his personal papers were given to Surrey University three years later.
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