Winnie-the-Pooh illustration sells for record price

A handout picture received on December 8, 2014 from Sotheby's London shows E H Shepard's original ink drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin and Piglet on the "Poohsticks" bridge. -- PHOTO: AFP
A handout picture received on December 8, 2014 from Sotheby's London shows E H Shepard's original ink drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin and Piglet on the "Poohsticks" bridge. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - The original drawing of an iconic literary illustration depicting Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends playing "poohsticks" sold at auction in London on Tuesday for a record-breaking £314,500 (S$647,537).

The sale of EH Shepard's ink drawing of the much-loved AA Milne characters Pooh, Christopher Robin and Piglet broke the world record for any book illustration in the sale at Sotheby's auction house.

The drawing, which has become one of the most famous book illustrations of its time, shows the trio standing on a bridge looking expectantly into the river below.

In the story, Pooh invents the now widely-played game "poohsticks" in which he and his fictional friends throw sticks over one side of the bridge and wait for them to appear on the other.

The picture was first published in Milne's The House at Pooh Corner in 1928 and has been used on the front of many editions of the popular children's book since.

The signed original was kept in a private collection for almost 40 years before being sold as part of Sotheby's auction of English literature, history, children's books and illustrations.

The auction house described it as "probably the most famous and evocative book illustration of the 20th century".