JRR Tolkien's Never-Before-Seen Illustrations for The Hobbit

JRR Tolkien's Never-Before-Seen Illustrations for <em>The Hobbit</em>

Come take a look at a sneak peek of Tolkein's recently rediscovered artwork that he created for The Hobbit.

When The Hobbit was first published in September 1937 it included twenty illustrations by its author. To celebrate the 75 anniversary, publisher HarperCollins wanted to add some material not yet seen. They knew that there was more artwork of The Hobbit, but were in for a shock at the immense amount of sketches and paintings. Tolkein had created more than 100 drawings. They were discovered at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and will be going on display.

Excerpt from The Guardian
"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 watercolors 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."

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

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

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’)

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

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

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

The Hobbit is an upcoming two-part epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson. It is a film adaptation of the 1937 novel of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien and prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings, returns as director of the film and also serves as producer and co-writer. The film will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Richard Armitage, known for playing Lucas North in the BBC drama series Spooks, as Thorin Oakenshield. Several actors from Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy will reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, and Orlando Bloom. Additionally, composer Howard Shore, who wrote the score for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, has confirmed his role in both parts of the film project. The two parts, entitled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, are being filmed back to back and are currently in production in New Zealand; principal photography began on March 21, 2011. They are scheduled to be released on December 14, 2012 and December 13, 2013, respectively.

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