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Tolkien Notes 12

October 7, 2015

The Art of The Lord of the Rings

Art of Lord of the Rings trial bindingTomorrow, October 8th, is publication day in the U.K. for The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (HarperCollins). We hope it will please and inform. The American edition, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), will be published next week, on the 13th. As expected, the HMH edition will be available in a dust-jacket but not a slipcase, while the HarperCollins edition is in a slipcase but not a dust-jacket. An early review of The Art of The Lord of the Rings is being written by Ethan Gilsdorf for We hear that our new book has also just been published in Finnish by WSOY.

The final product still has 240 pages, as we reported earlier, with 192 numbered figures (including 10 details), around 100 of which were not previously published. In the last stages of production, we located further small instances of art in the Lord of the Rings papers at Marquette and had to revise how the pictures were presented.


Tolkien on Record

For the completist collector, or anyone interested in spoken word recordings, Tolkien’s performance of the ‘troll song’ from The Lord of the Rings, first issued on the 1975 Caedmon album J.R.R. Tolkien Reads and Sings His The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, was also included as a sample track on the 1977 Caedmon anniversary double album Caedmon: Speaking of the Best for 25 Years (SP25). We discovered this on eBay.


The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun

A new edition of Tolkien’s Lay of Aotrou and Itroun, presented in English and Serbian on facing pages and with extensive commentary, has been privately published by the translator, Aleksandar Mikić ( We asked Aleksandar to hold a copy for us when he announced it, but once it became available we found it difficult to send money by wire transfer from our rural location. Fortunately, Aleksandar was able to set up payment by PayPal through a friend of his in Wales.


Tolkien’s Letters to Sterling Lanier

‘Between the Covers’ of Gloucester City, New Jersey are offering an archive of six typed letters signed by J.R.R. Tolkien, and one autograph letter signed by Edith Tolkien, to Sterling E. Lanier, author, sculptor, and the editor who convinced Chilton Books to publish Dune. These are concerned with small bronze figures based on characters in The Lord of the Rings, which Lanier made and hoped to market with Tolkien’s permission. Tolkien was amenable, but United Artists held the rights at that time. The correspondence also touches on the Ace Books affair, with Tolkien reporting on an initial overture from Ace, ‘very specious and slightly glutinous’, and later commenting on ‘very reasonable terms’ from the publisher. A small portion of one letter was published in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, on p. 422. The entry in Between the Covers’ web catalogue includes a full description but only a very small picture, which does not seem able to be enlarged. The seller’s printed catalogue (Archives & Manuscripts no. 19) includes more and larger photos. The asking price for the collection is $40,000.

  1. October 9, 2015 8:54 pm

    Hi Wayne and Christina,

    Never commented on your work before although I enjoy it very much.

    At 2.47am in Hamburg I have just finished the first reading of your magnificent Art of The Lord of the Rings. I have to congratulate you both for the dedication to this one. I loved Art of The Hobbit and this is a perfect follow on. My heartfelt thanks to you both.

    I presume this almost completed your wonderful work cataloguing Tolkien’s illustrations but I hope it is not the case and we see more of his unpublished art in the future of there is any left.

    Take care and I look forward to your next release.


  2. Dale Nelson permalink
    October 16, 2015 8:55 pm

    The good reviews of this book will say plenty about how the simple sketches and the calligraphy, etc., give insight into Tolkien’s creative process of composition. The less perceptive reviews will complain that this book isn’t as pretty as the Art of the Hobbit one. I hope you get plenty of good reviews. The book really should be bought and studied by public and university libraries and Tolkien readers.

  3. Hothran permalink
    November 8, 2015 12:35 am

    I have immensely enjoyed the Art of the Lord of the Rings since getting a hold of it. Lovingly put together, clear and fabulous to behold. Especially the maps.

    One question. The name “Haeren” in No. 160 and mentioned on p. 203 – I am wondering if this is connected to the “Dor Haeron” mentioned on p. 273 of Peoples of Middle-earth. In a long ago email from someone much more skilled linguistically than I, suggested that Dor Haeron meant something like the ‘furthest land”. Tolkien in a few places refers to farthest or utmost Gondor, which I have taken as meaning pretty much the samething.


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