J.R.R. Tolkien Artist & Illustrator – A Review

by Nov 27, 2000Books

J.R.R. Tolkien Artist & Illustrator
Houghton Miffin has recently rereleased J.R.R. Tolkien Artist & Illustrator again. I have received a copy to review. I recommend this book to all people who are trying to gain a better understanding of Tolkien.

Christopher Tolkien has said that no study of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works can be complete without also looking at his art.

From his youngest days, Tolkien was drawing. Included in this collection of his work is a drawing he drew in 1904 titled They Slept in Beauty Side by Side. From this young age you can see that he was already quite creative and was looking for an outlet. As time passes, Tolkien moves from landscapes to images from his created worlds and other legands. Included in this book is a couple scenes from Beowulf.

Where’s Maddo?
A chapter of the book is dedicated to his artwork for children including the Father Christmas Letters, Roverandom, Mrs. Bliss, and other random images. One of the neat images from this set is an image titled Maddo. Tolkien describes Maddo as follows: “Maddo… …[was] Michael’s imagined boggeys when he was 6-8 years old… Maddo was a gloved hand without an arm that opened curtains a crack after dark and crawled down the curtain.” The interesting thing about Maddo is that the design for Maddo is copied in the cover image Tolkien drew for The Return of the King as the long arm of Sauron reaching out over Cirith Ungol.

The rest of the book is dedicated to his images from Middle-earth. One of the things I find most intersting about his images from Middle-earth is that there are few artists today who are keeping true to the imagry already drawn by Tolkien. I guess this is a good thing, but it is intersting to see. Another interesting thing to watch is the evolution of places within Middle-earth. There are several different versions of Othanc and each is different.

All in all I love the book and I would like to personally thank Houghton Mifflin for sending a copy out to be reviewed.


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