Tuesday 21 May 2024

Ernest Howard Shepard

The most popular illustrations of 'The Wind in the Willows', are probably by E. H. Shepard, originally published in 1931, and believed to be authorised as Grahame was pleased with the initial sketches, although he did not live to see the completed work.

E. H. Shepard was first asked to illustrate The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame in 1931, following his success in providing drawings for Punch and later, A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. He was introduced to Grahame by Milne himself, and Shepard is recorded to have remembered his first meeting with the author at his home at Church Cottage, Pangbourne, Berkshire fondly. As detailed in Carolyn Hares-Stryker’s book, ‘The illustrators of The Wind in the Willows, 1908 – 2008,’ he reportedly said of his characters to Shepard, ‘I love these little people, be kind to them’ and described the local meadows, rivers, and woods where he’d drawn inspiration for his story. 

Shepard set off to sketch the places Grahame had described and these formed the basis of Shepard’s visioning for Grahame’s text.


E.H. Shepard recalled his final visit with  Kenneth Grahame before his death in 1932, 'I went to his home and was able to show him some of the results of my work, through critical, he seemed pleased and, chuckling, said, "I’m glad you’ve made them real."

Originally in black and white in later editions the ink drawings were reworked with colour washes.

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