Originally published as a hardcover with dustjacket by harperCollinsPublishers in 1995. It was not reprinted until in 1998 when 600 copies were rebound and issued as paperbacks, with ISBN 0-261-10322-9. The same year a new print was made, with corrected text, and these paperbacks have ISBN 0-261-10360-1. Houghton Mifflin published the book as a softcover in 1995 with the same ISBN 0-261-10322-9. A trade paperback appeared from Houghton Mifflin, Tolkien’s American publisher, in Oktober 2000. It is an oversize volume, finely designed and printed on heavy paper. It was priced $25.00 and carried the ISBN 0-618-08361-8. In 2004 a new hardback edition (in dustwrapper) was made by HarperCollins with ISBN 0261103229.
In the preface to the first edition of Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien, in 1979, Christopher Tolkien already noticed that the book only showed us a very small part of Tolkiens art, and that especially the art of his earlier years were by no means fully represented. Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien showed us a part of Tolkiens life that was usually overlooked and had not been fully appreciated.
In 1992 Christopher Tolkien ended the preface to the second edition of Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien with the following sentence: "The book remains, however, what it was in its inception: a collection of those of my father"s pictures and sketches that appeared in the series of calendars, with notes of a primarily documentary nature, and it does not go beyond that."
Back in 1992 I did not understand fully why he wrote this sentence untill three years later the book "J.R.R. Tolkien Artist & Illustrator" by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull appeared. This book explored Tolkien's art at lenght, from J.R.R. Tolkiens childhood paintings to his final sketches. It was on request by Christopher Tolkien himself that the authors wrote this book, and this time it goes way beyond the primarily documentary nature. This magnificent volume is a full, detailed, and definitive study of Tolkien's artwork in all its manifestations. Most of the art from Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien is reproduced here, allthough the pictures chosen do not really overlap. Most of the time variants are given or some crucial images are left out. For example only one of the three pages of the book of Mazarbul (all are shown in "Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien") has been reproduced here. One page is presented on a larger scale and one variant has been added of page one.
Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull's text is a full book's worth even without the artwork. It represents a significant contribution, perhaps the most significant since Tolkien's death, to our understanding of the life and art of J.R.R. Tolkien. "J.R.R Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator" is a book which is meant to engage and even to ensnare the reader. This is because of the brilliant manner that Wayne and Christiania, who are librarians and lifelong Tolkien scholars (who also made "J.R.R. Tolkien A Descriptive Bibliography" in 1993, the fiftieth anniversary edition of "Farmer Giles of Ham", and in 1998 the first publication of Tolkien’s long children’s story, Roverandom), have chosen to write it. The approach to their task is, naturally, a chronological one; they take us on a journey through the immense amount of material, much of it appearing in published form for the first time, from Tolkien's earliest drawings as a child to the splendid late drawing, "The Hills of the Morning," which they understandably see as a fitting climax and epilogue to his life's work as an artist, and which most appropriately takes its place as the frontispiece to this book.
The book is divided into six main chapters covering over 60 years of Tolkien life. The first chapter shows and explains Tolkien’s early artwork, presenting many drawings of landscapes and places in England which Tolkien visited in the 1910s. Most of these are in pen and ink and a few are in color. (Worth to mention: the authors literally went to England to find the exact places where these works were created).
The second part is called "Visions, Myths and Legends." This section contains a number of drawings of abstract concepts like "Wickedness", "Afterwards" and "Eeriness". Also some early drawings of landscapes, like for example "Tanaqui" and "Mithrim", and illustrations for the stories Tolkien was writing, like "The Book of lost Tales", are shown.
The third section is called "Art for Children," and it includes illustrations from Roverandom, Mr. Bliss and The Father Christmas Letters.
The fourth and fifth sections will be of considerable interest to Tolkien fans, for they contain, respectively, Tolkien’s illustrations for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Again many variants and unpublished works are presented here. Also the design for the binding and the dustjackets of both works are completely shown and documented.
The sixth section of the book covers "Patterns and Devices," including heraldic devices for a number of characters, a Númenórean Carpet, and some various doodles. A short appendix gives some examples of Tolkien’s calligraphy.
This book is not just another book about Tolkien. It is one of the standard works to be read by anyone trying to find out more about Tolkien and his life. J.R.R. Tolkien was an artist in pictures as well as in words. Though he often remarked that he had no talent for drawing, his art has charmed readers and has been exhibited to large and appreciative audiences. In fact, his talent was far more than he admitted, and his sense of design was natural and keen. I am sure every person who loved the books will enjoy reading this book and exploring Tolkiens own illustrations.
Spread the news about this J.R.R. Tolkien article: