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The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, a sumptuous full-colour art book containing the complete collection of more than 100 Hobbit sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien. When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he was already an accomplished amateur artist, and drew illustrations for his book while it was still in manuscript. The To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, a sumptuous full-colour art book containing the complete collection of more than 100 Hobbit sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien. When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he was already an accomplished amateur artist, and drew illustrations for his book while it was still in manuscript. The Hobbit as first printed had ten black and white pictures, two maps, and binding and dust-jacket designs by its author. Later, Tolkien also painted five scenes for colour plates which are some of his best work. His illustrations for The Hobbit add an extra dimension to that remarkable book, and have long influenced how readers imagine Bilbo Baggins and his world. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, the complete artwork created by the author for his story has been collected in The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Including related pictures, more than one hundred sketches, drawings, paintings, maps, and plans are presented here, preliminary and alternate versions and experimental designs as well as finished art. Some of these images are now published for the first time, and others for the first time in colour. Fresh digital scans from the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford and Marquette University in Wisconsin allow Tolkien’s Hobbit pictures to be seen more vividly than ever before. The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien has been written and edited by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, two of the leading experts on Tolkien and authors of the acclaimed J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion, and The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide.


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To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, a sumptuous full-colour art book containing the complete collection of more than 100 Hobbit sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien. When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he was already an accomplished amateur artist, and drew illustrations for his book while it was still in manuscript. The To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, a sumptuous full-colour art book containing the complete collection of more than 100 Hobbit sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien. When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he was already an accomplished amateur artist, and drew illustrations for his book while it was still in manuscript. The Hobbit as first printed had ten black and white pictures, two maps, and binding and dust-jacket designs by its author. Later, Tolkien also painted five scenes for colour plates which are some of his best work. His illustrations for The Hobbit add an extra dimension to that remarkable book, and have long influenced how readers imagine Bilbo Baggins and his world. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, the complete artwork created by the author for his story has been collected in The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Including related pictures, more than one hundred sketches, drawings, paintings, maps, and plans are presented here, preliminary and alternate versions and experimental designs as well as finished art. Some of these images are now published for the first time, and others for the first time in colour. Fresh digital scans from the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford and Marquette University in Wisconsin allow Tolkien’s Hobbit pictures to be seen more vividly than ever before. The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien has been written and edited by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, two of the leading experts on Tolkien and authors of the acclaimed J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion, and The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide.

30 review for The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    This is an impressive book full of Tolkien’s original art. It’s extraordinary to see the paintings and drawings from the man who devised the Middle Earth universe himself, rather than another’s interpretation. Despite his apparent modesty toward his own work, some are quite developed such as the forests and mountains. Fangorn forest is drawn in a way that evokes the presence of mystery, of magic: it is all in the colour of the trees. Also included are very simple sketches that are Tolkien’s ver This is an impressive book full of Tolkien’s original art. It’s extraordinary to see the paintings and drawings from the man who devised the Middle Earth universe himself, rather than another’s interpretation. Despite his apparent modesty toward his own work, some are quite developed such as the forests and mountains. Fangorn forest is drawn in a way that evokes the presence of mystery, of magic: it is all in the colour of the trees. Also included are very simple sketches that are Tolkien’s very first drawings of the Hobbit. It is delightful, in some cases, to see these grow from very rough outlines into the famous paintings that adorn the pages of The Hobbit in its original published copy. The annotations of the images are explanatory and definitive as they discuss the origins of each piece. Alan Lee is wonderful and everything, but his work will only ever be interpretations despite how grand it is. Seeing Tolkien’s own visual ideas, despite his limited artistic talent, was rather informative. So this is a welcome volume to my ever growing Tolkien bookshelf. Following on from this though, I highly recommend avoiding The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien because that doesn’t actually display any art, just a few lines and very vague sketches Tolkien never wanted published. This is the best collection of his art that I’ve come across.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    This is a book I picked up as research for my Dissertation and I have to say it's well worth the read even if you're not writing a dissertation about it. This book collects a vast amount of Tolkien's original artworks (which he himself was highly critical of) and shows them right from the inception (pencil lines sketches) right through to the final Ink or Watercolour illustrations that made it into the print versions of the book. I found it to be a fascinating look at not only Tolkien's art, but This is a book I picked up as research for my Dissertation and I have to say it's well worth the read even if you're not writing a dissertation about it. This book collects a vast amount of Tolkien's original artworks (which he himself was highly critical of) and shows them right from the inception (pencil lines sketches) right through to the final Ink or Watercolour illustrations that made it into the print versions of the book. I found it to be a fascinating look at not only Tolkien's art, but an insightful tale of how the book gradually became the final product and the various mistakes, edits and revisions to the artwork and maps along the way. I loved being able to find out the quotes which related directly to the images (as these were frequently referenced) and see exactly what Tolkien was thinking when he began the illustrating process. He never truly wanted to be an artist and never fully considered his work to be of a high quality, but he tirelessly revised and reworked to get the best images he could (not being one for people it was usually landscape and architecture-based) and you can see the naive passion and love he had for the world through them. I also found that the way the book is written and laid out is concise and easy to follow with images being displayed in chronologic order from inception to final piece and then each being related to a certain chapter/place in the text. The way it was laid out allowed the reader to follow the way that Tolkien discovered and invented his sets and worlds and really gave a sense of the magical place he imagined Middle-Earth to be. On the whole it's a solid, wonderful book with some stunning images and great original artworks. I would highly recommend this if you have a particular liking for the Hobbit, J R R Tolkien or knowing exactly how the process of making this renowned little book began. A great 4* read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I am pretty sure that Tolkien can do no wrong in my eyes, so maybe I'm a bit biased. But I really did enjoy this book, a collection of Tolkien's own artwork he did for the Hobbit. While it is semi-helpful to have read the Hobbit to understand what sections the art is trying to portray, the compilers (Hammons and Scull) do a good job of explaining each set of pieces, how they developed, and what part of the story they are to represent. It was interesting to see some of the rough drafts and how Tol I am pretty sure that Tolkien can do no wrong in my eyes, so maybe I'm a bit biased. But I really did enjoy this book, a collection of Tolkien's own artwork he did for the Hobbit. While it is semi-helpful to have read the Hobbit to understand what sections the art is trying to portray, the compilers (Hammons and Scull) do a good job of explaining each set of pieces, how they developed, and what part of the story they are to represent. It was interesting to see some of the rough drafts and how Tolkien's conversations with the publishers polished those drafts. I was not educated to how they printed things in books at that time, so that explanation was interesting to me. Not only are the explanations well done, but the book contains 106 of Tolkien's scribbles, drawings, and paintings. Some of them very well realized and polished. I knew he had drawn his own maps for Hobbit and LOTR, but to see some of these others was pretty neat. A good book for lovers of Tolkien and/or Art.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I really enjoyed this book - and I actually read the text, rather than just flipping through which I often do with these kinds of books. It was really interesting to see the progress between initial sketch and final illustration, and I love so many of his images. There is something about the stylization, especially of trees and mountains, that makes me happy just by looking at it. Plus, it is so worth it to see high quality reproductions, since a lot of the nuance is lost in the published versio I really enjoyed this book - and I actually read the text, rather than just flipping through which I often do with these kinds of books. It was really interesting to see the progress between initial sketch and final illustration, and I love so many of his images. There is something about the stylization, especially of trees and mountains, that makes me happy just by looking at it. Plus, it is so worth it to see high quality reproductions, since a lot of the nuance is lost in the published version of The Hobbit.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, by Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, is a book looking at the art that J.R.R. Tolkien made for The Hobbit. Beautiful sketches and descriptions on how the art was created and the publishing decisions behind the additions are noted. A really simple book that is nonetheless a fantastic way to view The Hobbit at a deeper level, looking at the art throughout the book, and the sketch work involved. You can really see the beginnings of the Lord of the Rings sc The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, by Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, is a book looking at the art that J.R.R. Tolkien made for The Hobbit. Beautiful sketches and descriptions on how the art was created and the publishing decisions behind the additions are noted. A really simple book that is nonetheless a fantastic way to view The Hobbit at a deeper level, looking at the art throughout the book, and the sketch work involved. You can really see the beginnings of the Lord of the Rings script, art and so forth throughout the book. A fun read and certainly a good one for those who are fans of the Hobbit.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marko Vasić

    This book is pure gem for those who are keen to learn more about Tolkien as an illustrator and about the nascency of the illustrations for the very first edition of The Hobbit. Wayne & Christina are versed chroniclers of Tolkien’s life and authors of several Tolkien Companion & Guide books. Out of those books, they evaluated the matter which suits the process of Tolkien’s creation of the illustrations for „The Hobbit“, thus this book is an important guideline and handbook for those who would lik This book is pure gem for those who are keen to learn more about Tolkien as an illustrator and about the nascency of the illustrations for the very first edition of The Hobbit. Wayne & Christina are versed chroniclers of Tolkien’s life and authors of several Tolkien Companion & Guide books. Out of those books, they evaluated the matter which suits the process of Tolkien’s creation of the illustrations for „The Hobbit“, thus this book is an important guideline and handbook for those who would like to discover the visual creation of Tolkien’s imaginary world.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    I finished this half a month ago, but was so busy traveling I didn't get a chance to review it. In a word: great! Despite knowing that Tolkien drew his own maps and pictures for The Hobbit, it never really clicked with me that he was a legitimate artist. The authors clearly did a lot of research and found early versions and sketches of the illustrations in the book and the cover art. They include highly detailed, quality reproductions of all of them, and added some other painting and drawings To I finished this half a month ago, but was so busy traveling I didn't get a chance to review it. In a word: great! Despite knowing that Tolkien drew his own maps and pictures for The Hobbit, it never really clicked with me that he was a legitimate artist. The authors clearly did a lot of research and found early versions and sketches of the illustrations in the book and the cover art. They include highly detailed, quality reproductions of all of them, and added some other painting and drawings Tolkien did that were connected. The pictures are on fold out pages. Most of the book are the pictures, with short descriptions of their evolution to final book form. If you are interested in how the hobbit developed, both the story and the look of it, this is another great piece to explore.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Darth

    So. Fucking. Cool. It's amazing to see the genius of JRR Tolkien like this. He really was absolutely amazing. But, as I learned from this, he thought his art was really bad and would often call himself an amatuer artist. Thing is though, I think if a writer can draw, as Tolkien definitely could, their art does more justice to whatever they're trying to create than another artist can. I mean sure, Ted Nasmith has created some amazing artwork of Middle-earth. But I just think Tolkien's work is so So. Fucking. Cool. It's amazing to see the genius of JRR Tolkien like this. He really was absolutely amazing. But, as I learned from this, he thought his art was really bad and would often call himself an amatuer artist. Thing is though, I think if a writer can draw, as Tolkien definitely could, their art does more justice to whatever they're trying to create than another artist can. I mean sure, Ted Nasmith has created some amazing artwork of Middle-earth. But I just think Tolkien's work is so much more *there*. Does that make sense? The maps and the calligraphy are absolutely fascinating. He was crazy good at cartography and calligraphy it's insane. The fact he put so much effort into creating his world that he created several letters and maps that the reader would never see speaks to how truly prolific the man really is. I think I need to buy this book so I can stare at it forever.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cat Spydell

    I adore this book! It is absolutely stunning, and the information provided with each piece of art is fascinating. As a huge Tolkien fan, I am surprised that I have found yet another dimension into my favorite author, in his art and his biography. I am so glad I bought The Art of The Hobbit! A keeper.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Not only was Tolkien an excellent author, he was an excellent illustrator and designer. It was fascinating to see his design process for the original cover of The Hobbit. The illustrations in this book show how Tolkien envisioned the world of Middle Earth. Many of the illustrations included show various stages of development, form initial drawings, to the refined illustration.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andd Becker

    Artists and scholars will gain insights through the artwork (sketches, drawings, paintings) of Tolkien and the detailed commentary of Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elise Rose

    It need not be said that I am a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. This book was a great way to look closer at how his genius world-building came to life in The Hobbit. Tolkien was truly an artist in every sense of the word. I love his illustration of the conversation between Bilbo and Smaug. Highly recommend this book. ❤️

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

    Fascinating look at Tolkien's artwork included (and not included) in the publication of The Hobbit. One thing I came away with (beyond a better appreciation for his eye to detail) is that the current publishers of this classic text are mostly lazy and cheap. I own several editions and none have reproduced the original cloth cover as published by Allen & Unwin. Even a recent reproduction of the original dust-jacket art is compromised by not making the physical book's dimensions the same. Wonderfu Fascinating look at Tolkien's artwork included (and not included) in the publication of The Hobbit. One thing I came away with (beyond a better appreciation for his eye to detail) is that the current publishers of this classic text are mostly lazy and cheap. I own several editions and none have reproduced the original cloth cover as published by Allen & Unwin. Even a recent reproduction of the original dust-jacket art is compromised by not making the physical book's dimensions the same. Wonderfully insightful and detailed book but it can leave the loving fan disappointed at today's publishers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ammie

    An enjoyable companion to borrow from the library while I re-read The Hobbit.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Scott

    Tolkein’s artwork for the Hobbit. Very pleasant on the eye. Looks different from my own imaginary Middle-Earth, (which resembles the movies) but this art is Tolkein’s own and gives a new understanding of the world he created.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dimitra

    I was always looking for a collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's art... And I finally found one! This book is so...precious!!! Such an amazing work and study on the illustrations made by the man who created one of the most epic stories/universes of all time. Stunning! Absolutely STUNNING! I was always looking for a collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's art... And I finally found one! This book is so...precious!!! Such an amazing work and study on the illustrations made by the man who created one of the most epic stories/universes of all time. Stunning! Absolutely STUNNING!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    A very well crafted and beautifully illustrated book. Most of the original J.R.R. Tolkien illustrations came from the Bodleian Library at Oxford University which most readers would not get the chance to see otherwise. All the different versions and sketches J.R.R. Tolkien drafted for the different British and American versions were incredibly interesting. I would recommend this book to any hobbit enthusiast.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    Really good quality book with all the illustrations Tolkien made for the Hobbit. The only thing that could have been improved is that although there were many unnecessary fold-out pages (with pictures no larger than the ordinary page size), the original dust jacket art was printed on one page and was too small to appreciate, this is the one image in the book that would have benefited from a fold out page where the picture would have filled the extended page width!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jon Dalvy

    Truly a gift! The authors and historians involved with this quintessential "art of" entry to the Tolkien pantheon go above & beyond what's expected when first opening the book. The personal, rare notes & sketches from Tolkien's hands are a delight, and much inspiration can be found here for any fellow author & illustrators. Truly a gift! The authors and historians involved with this quintessential "art of" entry to the Tolkien pantheon go above & beyond what's expected when first opening the book. The personal, rare notes & sketches from Tolkien's hands are a delight, and much inspiration can be found here for any fellow author & illustrators.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Eoff

    This book is full of color reproductions of Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit. I hadn't known before that Tolkien was not only an amazing author but also an accomplished artist. His strength lay in drawing architecture and landscapes, and many of the pieces he produced for The Hobbit are absolutely lovely. (Drawing people was NOT his forte.) His work is representative of the charming 1930s Art Deco aesthetic, with a touch of whimsy thrown in via cheerful dragons and cozy hobbit holes. One of the This book is full of color reproductions of Tolkien's artwork for The Hobbit. I hadn't known before that Tolkien was not only an amazing author but also an accomplished artist. His strength lay in drawing architecture and landscapes, and many of the pieces he produced for The Hobbit are absolutely lovely. (Drawing people was NOT his forte.) His work is representative of the charming 1930s Art Deco aesthetic, with a touch of whimsy thrown in via cheerful dragons and cozy hobbit holes. One of the marks of Tolkien's genius was that he was able to create a complete fantasy world with its own races, languages, landscapes, mythology, history, alphabets, architecture, poetry and folklore, and these drawings give us a glimpse of this world through the eyes of their creator. This is a fascinating book for those who are interested in art or Lord of the Rings.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nickolas

    I loved this book. It took me on a journey of the journey, of the creation of the physical book, The Hobbit. Tolkien never claimed to be a great artist but his few finished drawings I absolutely love in their simplicity. I say simplicity, but I myself am terrible at drawing even stick people, so to me he’s Picasso. Regardless, this beautiful book takes you through the evolution of sketch drawings that became the art in The Hobbit along with his creation of the book cover and dust jacket. The wri I loved this book. It took me on a journey of the journey, of the creation of the physical book, The Hobbit. Tolkien never claimed to be a great artist but his few finished drawings I absolutely love in their simplicity. I say simplicity, but I myself am terrible at drawing even stick people, so to me he’s Picasso. Regardless, this beautiful book takes you through the evolution of sketch drawings that became the art in The Hobbit along with his creation of the book cover and dust jacket. The writing that accompanies the photos is clear and explanative, telling some of the back story going on of how the drawings came to be and the back and forth discussions with him and the publishers in both the UK and the US. A very enjoyable read and experience for Tolkien fans.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lori Lee

    Full of fascinating facts about his life, family and work. It includes examples of handwritten scenes from LOTR and Hobbit, a picture of his wife, Edith, who was his inspiration for the character, Lúthien in LOTR, as well as his intricately detailed maps of Middle Earth. It showcases the story of a genius. What a great book to compliment my tour of the Tolkien exhibit at the Morgan Library!

  23. 5 out of 5

    anolinde

    Interesting, but definitely a money-grabber. There were lots of instances where the artwork cited was a few pages ahead of the text; maybe this was unavoidable, but it made it difficult to concentrate on both.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeni Enjaian

    I absolutely loved this book as I knew that I would. The authors attend to every possible detail in the artistic works of Tolkein. His ability to capture his imagined world in art astounds me. This book is a must own for all fans of art and especially all fans of Tolkein.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Candice Snow

    Brings a tear to my eye. I've wanted this for my collection for so long!!! Brings a tear to my eye. I've wanted this for my collection for so long!!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    J

    I read this book a little while after reading Lotr and the Simarillion. It was excellent and insightful.

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Henkhaus

    Deep-dive resource connecting Tolkien's own drawings and illustrations with the text of The Hobbit. Deep-dive resource connecting Tolkien's own drawings and illustrations with the text of The Hobbit.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Kljyan

    AMAZING! One of the best fantasies I've ever read. AMAZING! One of the best fantasies I've ever read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    AJNels

    I liked seeing the evolution of his illustrations but was less interested in the details of which edition had which pictures and why.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sage

    Absolutely stunning! It's so cool to have the author's personal touch in the art. It's truly beautiful Absolutely stunning! It's so cool to have the author's personal touch in the art. It's truly beautiful

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