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The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Much of the art here has never been seen before. Most versions of the Hobbit have no more than a score of Tolkien's illustrations, if that. A lot of this art was recently discovered among the Master's papers, and now has been digitally scanned and included for your viewing pleasure. (Interesting how few books the Professor wrote but how much background stuff he came up with while writing them, eh?).
True, in some cases, we have several versions of the same scene- several preliminary and then the finished piece. But I think that adds to how Tolkien was developing the scenes in his mind while writing.
Ok, now you know what to get for any LotR fan on your X-mas list
Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull carefully study all the pictures Tolkien drew -- the trolls, the interior of Beorn's hall, the entrance to the Elf-King's home, Rivendell from different angles, Bag End and the surrounding Hobbiton, Lonely Mountain, and so on. Each picture is shown in large, clear formats (sometimes with fold-out pages).
But they don't just study the final product. Just about every piece of art Tolkien made for "The Hobbit" is in here, from rough pencil sketches to detailed maps and watercolors. Even the scribbles in the margins are preserved.
And there's a lot of analysis of how these pictures came to be. Scull and Hammond explore Tolkien's "Hobbit" art, artistic influences and the evolution of Tolkien's artwork, as well as some of the changes he made along the way (the Elf-King's gate abruptly changes shape). And they answer some important questions in their analyses, such as... why is Bilbo wearing boots in some of the pictures?
As an artist, Tolkien comes across as possessing real talent, but technically untutored. His art ranges from pencil sketches showing the basic outlines to delicate pen-and-ink work, and even color work in deep earth tones of brown and grey.
He wasn't a great artist -- Scull and Hammond note that he had some artistic issues, such as the scale of furniture in Bag End.Read more ›
My wife has one of the early Unwin and Allen printings of the Hobbit, which features many of the illustrations in this book. To see the complete art and process of creation of it is a great treat indeed.
Highly recommended. 5 stars doesn't come close to a fair rating for this gem.
Tolkien was painstaking both in his writings and in his artworks. Often there are several versions of a planned painting, meticulously covered with Tolkien's notes to himself about improvements and adjustments that needed to be made. Tolkien was also knowledgeable about and deeply interested in the physical process of book publishing, and he was heavily involved in the process of designing, printing, and finally publishing The Hobbit. Included in this book are the familiar paintings and drawings that have been included in most editions of The Hobbit, along with discarded variations, all with rich and fascinating descriptions and analyses by Hammond and Scull. There are several foldout pages that provide a wider view of how some drawings developed and changed as well.
As a Tolkien fan for over 40 years I found The Art of the Hobbit to be a richly rewarding book to examine, and I intend to spend much more time poring over its pages. However impressive the artistic creations of others who have illustrated Tolkien's worlds, nothing matches the special beauty and love that he put into his own paintings and drawings. The Art of The Hobbit well displays that love and beauty, and it should become an absolutely essential part of the libraries of all lovers of Middle earth.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
waste of money. no good info or photos really. maybe if your new into Tolkien. but not for die hards.Published 24 days ago by Joshua B
A great gift for every Tolkien fan! Bought it for as a gift, turned out to be a total hit.Published 1 month ago by Krasen Kovachev
When reading through various editions of The Hobbit, which I own, I find myself puzzled by the lack of illustrations in a book of this nature. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stuart Dunn
I confess that a large part of the charm of The Hobbit was Tolkien's own pen and ink or water color illustrations he did for the book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by B. Marold
Absolutely one of the most beautiful books I've seen. This is a gift for my adult son who has been a Tolkien fan for many years. He is also a talented artist. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Rhonda Davis