Explore Rarely-Seen Art by J. R. R. Tolkien in a New Web Site Created by the Tolkien Estate

J. R. R. Tolkien man­aged to write the Lord of the Rings tril­o­gy, which ought to be accom­plish­ment enough for one mor­tal. But he also wrote the The Hob­bit, the gate­way for gen­er­a­tions of chil­dren into his major work, as well as a host of oth­er works of fic­tion, poet­ry, and schol­ar­ship, many of them not pub­lished until after his death in 1973. And those are only his writ­ings: a life­long artist, Tolkien also pro­duced a great many draw­ings and paint­ingsbook-cov­er designs, and pic­tures meant to delight his own chil­dren as well as the chil­dren of oth­ers.

Yet some­how more mate­r­i­al has remained in the vault, and only now brought out for prop­er pub­lic con­sid­er­a­tion. As report­ed ear­li­er this month by Art­net’s Sarah Cas­cone, Tolkien’s estate “has released a new web­site fea­tur­ing art­works, some pre­vi­ous­ly unseen,” all cre­at­ed by the man him­self.

“In addi­tion to a num­ber of detailed maps, the estate has released illus­tra­tions Tolkien cre­at­ed for The Hob­bitThe Lord of the Rings, and The Sil­mar­il­lion, as well as draw­ings he made for his chil­dren, land­scapes drawn from real life, and imag­ined abstrac­tions.”

Tolkie­nol­o­gists will also thrill to the new site’s “pre­vi­ous­ly unpub­lished pho­tographs of Tolkien and his fam­i­ly, includ­ing his son Christo­pher, who drew the final ver­sions of the Lord of the Rings maps for pub­li­ca­tion.” (Christo­pher died in 2020, and Tolkien’s last sur­viv­ing child Priscil­la died just last month.) Divid­ed into sec­tions ded­i­cat­ed to his writ­ing, his paint­ing, his schol­ar­ship, his let­ters, his life, and relat­ed audio-visu­al mate­r­i­al, this online exhi­bi­tion presents Tolkien as not just a world-builder but a man in full. In his life and work, he estab­lished the mod­el for the mod­ern fan­ta­sy nov­el­ist, but also — as under­scored by a jour­ney across his full nar­ra­tive, intel­lec­tu­al, and artis­tic range — an ide­al unlike­ly to be equaled any time soon. Vis­it the site here.

via Smith­son­ian Mag­a­zine

Relat­ed con­tent

110 Draw­ings and Paint­ings by J. R. R. Tolkien: Of Mid­dle-Earth and Beyond

Dis­cov­er J. R. R. Tolkien’s Per­son­al Book Cov­er Designs for The Lord of the Rings Tril­o­gy

Map of Mid­dle-Earth Anno­tat­ed by Tolkien Found in a Copy of Lord of the Rings

The Largest J. R. R. Tolkien Exhib­it in Gen­er­a­tions Is Com­ing to the U.S.: Orig­i­nal Draw­ings, Man­u­scripts, Maps & More

Dis­cov­er J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lit­tle-Known and Hand-Illus­trat­ed Children’s Book, Mr. Bliss

J. R. R. Tolkien Sent Illus­trat­ed Let­ters from Father Christ­mas to His Kids Every Year (1920–1943)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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