Winnie-the-Pooh Celebrates Christmas in Charming New Illustrations
The iconic illustrations inspired a crop of new drawings.
Christmas has come early this year for lovers of E.H. Shepard‘s iconic Winnie-the-Pooh illustrations. Mark Burgess has created a new suite of drawings in the style of Shepard, featuring Pooh and his friends engaging in Yuletide festivities.
In a survey conducted by Egmont Publishing, 2,000 British adults were asked to share their thoughts on which quintessentially Christmas pastimes should be preserved for future generations. Based on the top suggestions, Burgess created a series of adorable illustrations of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and the gang.
It’s not the first time the illustrator has been called upon to recreate Shepard’s whimsical drawings, having previously illustrated Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, the first authorized Pooh sequel, written by David Benedictus in 2009.
A fan of Winnie-the-Pooh since childhood, Burgess told artnet News in an e-mail that filling Shepard’s shoes was a somewhat daunting task. “I always go back to Shepard’s originals and look at them afresh,” he wrote. “I try to keep things spontaneous… I think Shepard worked quite quickly so his drawing is never fussy; I try to do the same.”
In addition to perfectly capturing the spirit of Milne’s beloved characters, the drawings offer a festive snapshot of British culture, as expressed in the following activities:
- Playing ‘parlour games’ as a family: 33%
- Carol singing: 31%
- Making paper chains to decorate the home: 28%
- Putting satsumas and nuts in stockings: 26%
- Enjoying roasted chestnuts: 25%
(Satsumas is just a fancy word for tangerine, for those unfamiliar with the term.) Other quaint British-isms on the list include “homemade mince pies,” “watching a pantomime,” and referring to Santa Claus as “Father Christmas.”
“The picture with Pooh and friends playing charades will always remind me of family Christmases when I was a child,” said Burgess. “I think it’s sad if old traditions disappear, especially those traditions that are about being together as a family.”
Winnie-the-Pooh will celebrate his 90th anniversary come October publication of The Best Bear in All the World, with more drawing by Burgess. Meanwhile, Shepard’s original illustrations continue to command top prices on the auction block, with one work setting the record for a book illustration this past December. The real-life bear who inspired the beloved character is also back in the spotlight at at London’s Hunterian Museum, where the skull of Winnie, former star of the London Zoo, is currently on display.
“These classic illustrations featuring Winnie-the-Pooh enjoying Christmas together with his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood are a great way to encourage the British public to hopefully continue some of these much-loved traditions in the years to come,” added Egmont’s creative director, Nicole Pearson, in a statement.
See more of the new Winnie-the-Pooh illustrations below.
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