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The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien Hardcover – September 18, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As Tolkien fans mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of The Hobbit and await the first film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, following his triumphant Lord of the Rings epic, they can peruse the profoundly imaginative writer’s artwork for his first published novel. Coauthors Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull continue their championing of Tolkien’s artistry, launched with J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator (1995), with this handsome and informative showcase for the sketches, plans, drawings, maps, and paintings—many never before published or reproduced in color—that Tolkien created as he refined his vision and readied his manuscript for publication. Readers can see Tolkien clarifying his layout of the village of Hobbiton, based on prehistoric European lake settlements, and creating the dramatic landscapes his characters traverse based on his walking tour through the Swiss Alps. Tolkien’s Hobbit illustrations, Hammond and Scull attest in their consistently intriguing commentary, are “among the finest work he achieved as an artist.” Tolkien’s intimate and inventive handmade creations stand in evocative contrast to cinematic opulence. --Donna Seaman

Review

“A splendid introduction to Tolkien the artist . . . Editors and experts Hammond and Scull walk through the classic book's publication history, providing context for the over 100 pieces of artwork, some never before published, which the author prepared to accompany his account of Bilbo Baggins's adventures.” – Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547928254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547928258
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wulfstan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Yes, Tolkien wasn't a professional artist, but his art for the Hobbit really works on many levels, and gives the reader a better idea of what Tolkien had in his fertile and amazing imagination when writing The Hobbit.

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
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Format: Hardcover
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, BEAUTIFUL book :). Containing over a 100 never-before-seen illustrations by Tolkeins himself, this was a magical journey into the world created by Tolkeins that I'd imagined as a kid - and it was almost exactly how I'd imagined it based on his descriptions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautifully done book of Tolkien's drawings for The Hobbit. Slipcover is incredible!!! A must for a Tolkien collector. If you order buy two, one to keep wrapped up and one to use...it will be a collectors item!
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By Warthog on January 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful gift to all fans of Tolkien. The production quality of the book is excellent, the content is beautiful.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
J.R.R. Tolkien's prowess as a creative writer is now well known, but there may be some who do not yet realize that he was a gifted artist as well. In The Art of the Hobbit pre-eminent Tolkien scholars Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull have collected every known drawing and sketch made by Tolkien to illustrate The Hobbit and analyzed them with love and scholarly rigor. The result is a fascinating and beautiful book.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his classic book "The Hobbit," he also made several illustrations for it. "The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien" explores all the artwork that Tolkien produced for that book -- every sketch and version of the illustrations, and how they related to the text. It's not a read for casual fans, but for Tolkien aficionados.

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.
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