Wheelbarrows at Dawn: Memories of Hilary Tolkien by Angela Gardner and Neil Holford (01.07.10 by Pieter Collier) - Comments

Since the release of Black & White Ogre Country, the Lost Tales of Hilary Tolkien we were all waiting for the "bigger biography".

This biography of Hilary Tolkien, brother to J.R.R. Tolkien, is now ready and will be released shortly.

Sharing their formative years together and then heading into the trenches of The Great War, the book shows the correspondence between the Tolkien brothers and their wives during the war and since, with family photographs and letters.

Though about Hilary, this books also sheds light on and brings new information to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien - including the only known instance of a signed photograph by Ronald, and a recent discovery of an original JRRT drawing.

Having myself seen part of the letters, documents and pictures that were used as source material I believe that this biography has all chances to be a 'very' interesting book. One thing is certain, the cover looks interesting!

The Standard Book will cost £30 and the Deluxe edition, limited to 250 copies, will cost £75. At the moment this book has not been listed on Amazon and the deluxe editions will probably only be available through ADC books.
Wheelbarrows at Dawn: Memories of Hilary Tolkien

Unseen Original Tolkien Artwork

The original drawing by J.R.R. Tolkien from 1911, that was recently discovered in the source material to write the Hilary Tolkien biography, will be shown at the annual tolkien-inspired Art Exhibition, held at The Redesdale Hall in Moreton-in-Marsh.

It is the first public showing of the Original drawing of “Lamb’s Farm, Gedling” drawn by JRR Tolkien in 1911. It was recently, in December 2009, offered at auction by Sotheby's London, but stayed unsold. (1) Lucky, since now all Tolkien fans can still go and see it.

The title, at the bottom right of the painting, refers to the 'small holding... farmed by Mr Lamb for some years' that was offered for sale at auction in 1911. It was bought by Jane Neave (tolkien's mother's younger sister) who soon changed the name of from 'Church Farm' to 'Phoenix Farm'. (2)

Hammond and Scull note that tolkien's 'earliest known writing that relates to his mythology dates from September 1914, when he was staying with [his brother] Hilary and their Aunt Jane... at Phoenix Farm, Gedling, in Nottinghamshire... Inspired by a line from the Crist by the Anglo-Saxon poet Cynewulf..., Tolkien wrote a poem of his own, The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star.
“Lamb’s Farm, Gedling” drawn by JRR Tolkien in 1911

From this small beginning, in the buildings shown in this picture, his epic “Silmarillion” began, that grew and eventually led over time to the creation of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. (3) Hammond and Scull reproduce another of tolkien's drawings of the farm, titled 'Phoenix Farm Gedling' in their volume (from the original at the Bodleian Library).

Evidently this present example pre-dates that drawing and also shows an extremely early version of tolkien's famous JRRT monogram.

Also during this exhibition at Moreton-in-Marsh, the Hilary Tolkien biography will be launched. To mark this first public showing of the Original drawing and the release of the biography, a Limited Edition Print of the drawing – the last of only five created – will be auctioned on Saturday 14th Aug, with the monies raised going to Charity. Those interested can visit or send in sealed bids.

Renowned Tolkien artists Ted Nasmith (illustrator of the official 2010 Tolkien Calendar), Ruth Lacon, Jef Murray and Peter Pracownik will be exhibiting their latest tolkien-inspired paintings at the 3 day annual event, and shall be attending in person throughout, giving talks about their work and meeting the public.

“Edge of the Wild” tolkien-inspired Art Exhibition is open 14th – 16th August 2010 at The Redesdale Hall, Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos, from 9-5 pm. FREE Admission.

(1) English literature, history, children's books & illustrations, Sotheby's auction catalogue, 17 December 2009
(2) Andrew H. Morton and John Hayes, tolkien's Gedling, Studley, 2008
(3) Hammond and Scull, J.R.R. Tolkien Artist & Illustrator, London, 1995, p.19

Title: Wheelbarrows at Dawn, Memories of Hilary Tolkien
Angela Gardner & Neil Holford
ADC Publications Ltd

Publication Date:
14 August 2010

ISBN-10: 0-9551900-4-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-9551900-4-9

Type: deluxe
ISBN-10: 0-9551900-5-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-9551900-5-6

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