Extensive collection of illustrations and paintings show fantasy author was an accomplished artist.
By Alison Flood
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 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.