A museum in Switzerland completely dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien (24.12.11 by Ivan Cavini) -
There have been rumors around for some time about a Museum which is being build in Switzerland that is totally dedicated to Tolkien, or better said to Middle-earth the land Tolkien created. There are talks about a real hobbit hole, hundreds of original pieces of Middle-earth art, etc.
Well I can tell you, these rumors are true! I was very happy to see an article at The Italian Tolkien Society website about it and I'm so grateful to be able to post an English version of the article here.
The museum will open in 2013, just to give us time to pack our bags! It will be called "Greisinger Middle-earth Collection" and is located in Jenins, a little village in the Grisons canton with just 847 inhabitants, on the border with Liechtenstein. The Italian Tolkien Society talked with a curator. Since the beginning I have been in contact with the people behind the Museum so I'll be writing about it and the amazing collection more ofthen during this year! Let me now start by giving a translation of the Italian article about it.
Art and passion, Tolkien and painting
Illustrator, set designer, painter or in one sentence "artist specializing in fantasy", Ivan Cavini is all that; and since 2005 he has embarked on a journey to create the settings for the spectacular exhibition of the Museum GMEC (Greisinger Middle-earth Collection). But before flying to Switzerland, the artist, who has lived in the hills of Romagna since his childhood, has had a long career in Tolkien art, partly in parallel to that of the Italian Tolkien Society.
In the years 2003/2004 he was the artistic director of the international touring exhibition "Images from the Middle-earth" in collaboration with the Italian Tolkien Society and Medusa Film for the premiere of the movie "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King", the second and third episode of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings".
The exhibition was on display at the tenth edition of Hobbiton in San Daniele del Friuli (2003), the Italian Tolkien Society convention, Villa Celimontana in Rome (2004), and then to Ancona, Bari, Trani, before flying to Poland, in Gdansk and Wroclaw (2004) .
Other exhibitions by the artist Ivan Cavini were held in events where the Italian Tolkien Society was also present, like the day dedicated to classical music and literature, that took place at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan (2007), Return to tolkien's Númenor and the event in Buccinasco, near Milan (2007).
This year the artist participates in the "Belgioioso Fantasy" in the Belgioioso's Castle (Pavia), the Soncino Fantasy (near Cremona) and of course "Lucca Comics and Games".
Among many other Fantasy and Tolkien related artworks, Ivan Cavini also made the cover for "Lord of the Rings from J.R.R. Tolkien to Peter Jackson" written by Emanuele Terzuoli, published by Delos Books in 2004.
A collection of books and sculptures
The museum in Switzerland will house permanently the largest collection of literary works, pictorial, scenic and recreational activities about Middle-earth. The German owner, mr. Greisinger, who has only been collecting for a few years has put together the biggest Middle-earth collection world-wide and some of the highlights are:
A first edition of The Lord of the Rings that belonged to Elaine Griffiths, a student of Tolkien, that has a value of 104K US dollars (about 73.800 euros) and is the world's most expensive Tolkien book. in the first of the three volumes there is this handwritten dedication in Elvish: "Tarin Elainen Periandion meldenya anyaran ar" (Elaine, Queen of the Hobbits and my dear old friend). Elaine, a former student and friend of the family of JRR Tolkien, was one of the few people who had read the manuscript of The Hobbit and was instrumental in its publication: he advised him strongly to her friend (Susan Dagnall) who worked at Allen & Unwin, the house London publisher who then published it.
A copy of the rare first edition of The Hobbit in 1937, with a dedication to Jack Bennett, signed by Tolkien October 28, 1972, JAW "Jack" Bennett (1911-1981) was a friend and former colleague of Tolkien in Oxford. At Cambridge he was the successor of C.S. Lewis in the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English Literature
The first foreign language edition of The Hobbit, translated into Swedish in 1947 by Tore Zetterholm. Again, the book bears a dedication to Tolkien to Elaine Griffiths.
The first American edition of The Hobbit published in early 1938 by Houghton-Mifflin. This edition differs significantly for the British edition and includes four color plates created by Tolkien. Two of these were used for the cover (The Hill: Hobbiton Across the Water for the front and Conversation with Smaug the back). Houghton-Mifflin had also decided to put a small figure of a bowing hobbit on the title page and on the cover. Unfortunately, this hobbit wore boots!
To be honest, the artist modelled this on tolkien's illustration Conversation with Smaug, where the hobbit is also shown wearing boots. This figure was removed at some point in production, thus creating a difference between the second edition and the first one. The American edition with the hobbits bow is then indicated as the first impression of the first edition. The number of copies of the first state is currently unknown, but the second had just three thousand.
There are also original Pauline Baynes illustrations, a map of Middle-earth signed by J.R.R. Tolkien, and a book dedicated by Tolkien to his son Michael. Next to that there are the hundreds of original paintings and illustrations which include works by all the artists who have illustrated Tolkien in the last 35 years.
The museum entrance is Bilbo's hobbit hole, faithfully reconstructed, where a collection of tolkien's books will be on display.
there you will have access to a basement of 300 square meters where visitors will be transported to Middle-earth. The exhibition space includes life-size creatures, spectacular scenery, original paintings, collectibles, sculptures and illustrations.
Furthermore, there will be an incredible collection of works by Tolkien fans around the world. Inside the museum you can also access a conference room and a private cinema.
Since 2005 Ivan Cavini has created the gigantic installations called "Isildur" and "Anarion" (the Argonath, in 2006), "Troll" (2008), "Smaug" (2009) and "Treebeard" (2010). At the bottom of page you can find two videos on the implementation of the Troll and Treebeard.
This first set of pictures shows the initial phase of work for the construction of the museum. Since these photos date back to 2006 and since then a lot of progresses has been made... make sure to come here in the future to find more pictures!
In 2011, the "Swiss Association of Middle-earth" was founded. Among the founding members is Pieter Collier, mind behind the Tolkienlibrary website and editor of "A Tolkien Tapestry".
Now the Middle-earth collection is complete and work every effort is done in finishing the Museum that will open somewhere in 2013.
We are waiting anxiously. And as Bilbo said, "The road goes ever on (and on) ..."