J.R.R. Tolkien as an Artist

I love art. So in honor of J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday (January 3,1892), what better day to highlight some. Did you know that he was a gifted and prolific artist??

In October of 1936, Tolkien delivered the manuscript of The Hobbit to his publisher which included his personal illustrations. When HarperCollins began preparing for a book on the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit, they discovered more than 100 of Tolkien’s illustrations, which had been buried in his archive at the Bodleian Library in Oxford (and had only recently been digitized).

These manuscript drawings were released in The Art of the Hobbit (which I bought over Christmas), and it’s a magnificent volume celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit, including 110 beautiful, many never-before-seen illustrations by Tolkien, ranging from pencil sketches to ink line drawings to watercolors.

I’m in love with the art deco vibe. Here are some of my favorites…

More of his artwork can be seen here.

December 1956: British writer J R R Tolkien (1892 – 1973), enjoying a pipe in his study at Merton College, Oxford, where he is a Fellow. Original Publication: Picture Post – 8464 – Professor J R R Tolkien – unpub. (Photo by Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images)
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