The curious collection of a slightly mad scientist
In 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and even created the artwork for its original Unwin & Allen publication, and the upcoming book The Art of The Hobbit will celebrate the author’s artistry. Better yet, it’s going to contain an important surprise: two dozen never-before-seen sketches and paintings created by Tolkien.
And when we say “never before seen,” what we mean is that this artwork had been sitting for a number of years in a library, completely unknown to the public.
According to The Guardian:
“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.
How could the works of such an eminent author go unknown for so many years? We don’t know. Although Oxford’s Bodleian Library has 11 million volumes spread across multiple buildings, the artwork was found in Tolkien’s own archive.
But the late Oxford professor’s archive contained more than a few sheets of paper; in 2003, researchers found 2000 pages of a translation and commentary of Beowulf.
According to publisher David Brawn, The Art of The Hobbit (to be released on Oct. 27) includes Tolkien’s “conceptual sketches for the cover design, a couple of early versions of the maps and pages where he’s experimenting with the runic forms.” It sounds like a must-have for fans of the father of high fantasy. …
The publisher hopes to bring attention back to The Hobbit in advance of the much-anticipated release of Peter Jackson’s film next year.
“People have celebrated Tolkien as a writer for years – you haven’t been able to get away from him since all the books of the century polls,” said Brawn. “But The Lord of the Rings has always been the focus since it was published in 1954 – it’s a much more grown-up, significant book. It has overshadowed The Hobbit as a more old-fashioned, children’s book, which has become known in the context of The Lord of the Rings. The anniversary allows us to move the spotlight back on to the book which started it all.”
The Hobbit movie is in the making…