A.A. Milne; Christopher Robin Milne

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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A.A. Milne; Christopher Robin Milne

by Howard Coster
sepia toned gelatin silver print, 1926
8 5/8 in. x 10 1/8 in. (219 mm x 257 mm) arched top
Given by the estate of Howard Coster, 1959
Primary Collection
NPG P715

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • Howard Coster (1885-1959), Photographer. Artist or producer associated with 9349 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

This portraitback to top

A. A. Milne, with his son Christopher Robin and the original Pooh Bear, photographed in the year that Winnie-the-Pooh was first published.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Portraits, p. 109
  • 100 Writers, p. 88
  • Ecclesshare, Julia, Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of Children's Writers, 2002 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 15 May to 26 August 2002), p. 35
  • Pepper, Terence; Strong, Arthur, Howard Coster's Celebrity Portraits, 1985 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 28 June - 8 September 1985), p. 2
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 432
  • Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 200 Read entry

    This classic photograph introduced one of the most famous characters in children’s literature. Taken to coincide with the publication of Winnie-the-Pooh in October 1926, it also helped establish the reputation of the photographer Howard Coster (1885–1959), who opened his London studio that year. It shows A. A. Milne with his son Christopher and the teddy bear that was the inspiration for the story at the author’s farmhouse home in Hartfield, Sussex.

    Born in north London, Milne enjoyed a relatively liberal upbringing and received his early education at his father’s private school. Although best known for his children’s books, he wrote a number of successful plays and was a popular essayist and contributor to magazines. In 1920 the birth of his son, Christopher, inspired Milne to start writing children’s poems. The first collection was published in 1924 as When We Were Very Young. The following year the Evening News asked Milne to write a piece for the newspaper; his response was an adaptation of a bedtime story he had created for Christopher, based around his teddy bear. Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, Winnie-the-Pooh, and its sequel The House at Pooh Corner, sold millions of copies and remains popular to this day.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1926back to top

Current affairs

In response to wage cuts and increased working hours for coal miners recommended by the Samuel Commission, the Trade Union Council calls a General Strike of workers in the key industries. Although over 1.5 million workers took part, the TUC finally gave in after nine days and called off the strike. The Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act of 1927 made it harder for workers to strike.

Art and science

A.A. Milne publishes Winnie-the-Pooh. The series of popular children's books featured the character Christopher Robin (named after Milne's son) and a cast of animals based on his stuffed-toys including Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga and Roo.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is published. This was Agatha Christie's third 'whodunit' novel featuring Hercule Poirot, the Belgian Detective.


The League of Nations accepts Germany as the sixth permanent member on the council deeming it a 'peace-loving country'. This confidence, however, was short lived with Germany leaving the League with the accession of Adolf Hitler to power in 1933.

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