Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

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Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:13 pm

The Hobbit as JRR Tolkien imagined it.

When The Hobbit was first published almost 75 years ago, JRR Tolkien provided a set of wonderful illustrations. But buried among the author's papers were 110 drawings, watercolours and sketches, some of which have never been published before.

(The Guardian)


Last edited by eddie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:16 pm


The White Dragon Pursues Roverandom and the Moondog
When producing his art for The Hobbit, Tolkien borrowed from his short story Roverandom, which was written for his son, Michael.

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Re: Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:20 pm


Smaug in Flight and Dwarves Marching
This earlier image was reused in Thror's Map, and on the dust jacket of The Hobbit.

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Re: Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:25 pm


Smaug Flies Around the Lonely Mountain
This is probably the earliest of four pictures of Smaug flying around the mountain, and is an untitled ink drawing with an elaborate sky. It appears to be set in daylight, though in The Hobbit Smaug flies only at night. The dragon is black against the mountainside, as is the front gate and Ravenhill on the south-west spur. At the bend of the river are the remains of the old bridge that Bilbo and the dwarves cross in chapter 13 (‘most of its stones were now only boulders in the shallow noisy stream').

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Re: Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:29 pm


Smaug Flies Round the Mountain
This watercolour is similar in composition to Smaug Flies Around the Lonely Mountain. Beyond the bridge are the ‘ancient steps’ by which Bilbo and the dwarves climb the ‘high bank’, and the road running around the spur to the path leading up to the look-out post. To the right are the ruins of Dale.

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Re: Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:31 pm


The Front Door
The most notable change in this later view is the course of the river, which now winds ‘a wide loop over the valley of Dale’ (chapter 11). Tolkien made this alteration also in his revised Thror’s Map around the end of 1936, but made a corresponding change in the text only when The Hobbit was in proof.

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Re: Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:33 pm


The Lonely Mountain
This drawing is demonstrably set at night, the dragon a stark white against a jet-black sky. Although this and The Lonely Mountain are more finished drawings, neither seems to have been offered to Allen & Unwin for publication – because they were made too late, perhaps, or because they contain varied greys or dense blacks not well suited to line-blocks.

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Re: Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  Guest on Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:25 pm

...they're fantastic illustrations. Thanks for posting eddie.

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Re: Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:55 pm

As you approach Oxford on the train from London, where Prof. JRR Tolkien was the resident Olde English boffin (or something similar), the countryside looks exactly as I imagine Hobbiton.

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Re: Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit

Post  eddie on Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:45 am

Tolkien's Hobbit drawings published to mark 75th anniversary

Extensive collection of illustrations and paintings show fantasy author was an accomplished artist

Alison Flood
guardian.co.uk, Monday 24 October 2011 17.21 BST


The Art of the Hobbit reveals Tolkien's visual imagination through 100 works. Photograph: JRR Tolkien, courtesy of the Tolkien estate/HarperCollins

A swath of JRR Tolkien's original illustrations for The Hobbit are to be published for the first time this week as part of celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the book's publication.


The Art of the Hobbit
by J. R. R. Tolkien

The published version of The Hobbit includes around 20 illustrations by its author, as well as the well-known dust jacket painting of the mountains which Bilbo Baggins passes through on his adventures. But when HarperCollins began preparing for the book's 75th anniversary next year, the publisher discovered Tolkien had actually created more than 100 illustrations, which lay buried in his archive at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and were only recently digitised.

"That was a surprise. I thought there might be 40-50 in total," said publisher David Brawn. "But there are 110 Hobbit pictures, about two dozen of which haven't been published before."

Ranging from line drawings in ink to watercolours and sketches, the collected drawings will be published on 27 October as The Art of the Hobbit. HarperCollins hopes the collection and the anniversary will shed new light on the fantasy author – and on his first novel.

"It includes his conceptual sketches for the cover design, a couple of early versions of the maps and pages where he's experimenting with the runic forms, as well as a couple of manuscript pages," said Brawn. "It shows that Tolkien's creativity went beyond the writing, that it was a fully thought out conception. When he writes about the hobbit hole ["In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort"], he's designed it as well. And by doing that, it makes his description more vivid ... Tolkien was an accomplished amateur artist. He was a great admirer of Arthur Rackham and you can see a little bit of that style coming through."

Although The Hobbit was first published in September 1937, Tolkien delivered the manuscript to his publishers in October 1936, so HarperCollins feels justified in kicking off its anniversary celebrations early.

New editions of the novel itself are also lined up for publication this month. The publisher hopes to bring attention back to The Hobbit in advance of the much-anticipated release of Peter Jackson's film next year.

"People have celebrated Tolkien as a writer for years – you haven't been able to get away from him since all the books of the century polls," said Brawn. "But The Lord of the Rings has always been the focus since it was published in 1954 – it's a much more grown-up, significant book. It has overshadowed The Hobbit as a more old-fashioned, children's book, which has become known in the context of The Lord of the Rings. The anniversary allows us to move the spotlight back on to the book which started it all."

© 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.


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