Tolkien the Artist

In a previous post on J.R.R. Tolkien, I wondered what more could be said about the great storyteller. Well, as it turns out, there is more to learn.

I recently listened to a Tolkien at Oxford podcast entitled, The Hobbit at the Bodleian: World Book Day. It was interesting to hear about how Tolkien intended The Hobbit to be an illustrated novel, but the cost to include his watercolours was prohibitive after the war. The podcast features Judith Priestman, curator of the Bodleian library on World Book Day, 2010, on which day the original artwork was displayed.

Apparently, his watercolour paintings which he produced on plain (inexpensive) paper with his children’s low-quality paints cannot bear to be viewed normally in light at the Bodleian, and so they are stored in the dark.

Good news! There is a stunning volume available, published in 2018, with paintings, maps, and other author creations. This bookseller has several inside page views where you can see his artwork. It is surprising that Tolkien was dismissive of his artistic talent, as his work is quite vivid and enjoyable to view: Tolkien Maker of Middle-Earth.

tolkien maker of middle-earth

 

Enjoy!

DB

2 thoughts on “Tolkien the Artist

  1. Reminds me of another storyteller, Ernest Thompson Seton. I once owned his entire collection of first editions including a folio of his sketches. He was a student of anatomy and a prolific sketcher. His love of natural history inspired a passion that couldn’t be satisfied with prose alone. His sometimes crude artwork fulfills his stories.

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    1. Lovely comment, Dan.
      I read about Seton in a children’s literature course. Apparently he was one of the first to write realistic animal stories for children. I’ll have to have a look for his sketches. Thank you.

      Like

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