Most helpful positive review
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Nice maps, with even nicer commentary
on December 20, 2003
This item is a slipcase with two volumes inside.
One contains four unfoldable 28 x 28 maps, with border illuminations and illustrations, in watercolor with ink captions, by Howe after the originals: Wilderland from The Hobbit, the isle of Númenor, Third Age Middle-earth, and Beleriand. The last two of these impressed me most: Howe's Middle-earth, though less precisely rendered than Pauline Baynes's earlier copy along the same lines, is really attractive. But the appeal of Tolkien's original Wilderland map lies in its busy detail, and Howe's open wash from a receding perspective seems rather vacant. My wife the musician immediately started critiquing the bowing styles of the dwarf musicians in the framing illustration.
The other volume has four independent and well-written essays by Sibley discussing the origin of each original map and the place of geography in each story, plus a gazetteer of each land.
I'd recommend this for the commentary, or if you want to pin the maps as posters on your wall. If you have the original books, you don't need these maps, but they do make nice posters.