September 26, 2017

Tolkien Tuesday: My Favourite Images

A picture is worth a thousand words, as the old saying goes. For as long as there's been Middle-earth books published (beginning in 1937), there have also been quite a few images over the years. Far too many to recount in a single post.

However, I wish to acknowledge some as my absolute favourites. Before I do so, I wish to say that I hope I'm not breaching any copyright. I am uploading, or linking, these images and giving the artists their well-deserved due credit. If I don't know the exact official title of a piece, I apologize. I do however know the artists' names. The images, where applicable, come directly off their official sites.


I am going to showcase these art pieces in order of publication of the texts which have been illustrated on artistic level.

First up, is "The Hill: Hobbiton Across the Water" done by none other than Tolkien himself! Depending on the edition of The Hobbit you own, this could very well be the first piece of artwork inside a Tolkien book you come across - not counting Thror's Map, of course. I personally enjoy following the road with my eyes.

Also by Tolkien, though at the end of the story, is "Conversation With Smaug." There are a few others by him that I quite enjoy, however I have to say that Tolkien's classic image of Smaug is a definite must. It's a great art piece, and compliments the text quite well.

Alan Lee's famed Smaug (exact name of the piece unknown to me) definitely deserves a mention. Whether it's the cover of a book, a poster or art print on the wall, or nestled in the pages of the book itself, this is definitely one of the most eye catching Hobbit illustrations, for both The Hobbit, as well as Alan's work on a whole. Take a good 30-45 seconds to admire this before scrolling.

"Smaug the Golden" by John Howe. Another Smaug! Well, he is the chiefest of calamities, after all! This has to be my pick for my favourite John Howe Hobbit related image. You can get a subtle hint that Smaug's hoard is "precious" to him...

And of course another Smaug!! This piece (name unknown) is artist David Wyatt's version of the 'Conversation with Smaug' scene. I've also liked the way this image looks. Classic, yet 'new'.

Most recently, artist Jemima Catlin has illustrated The Hobbit, in a classic 'story book' manner that brings the charm and whimsy of Tolkien's writing out. This image is from the cover of the edition she illustrated. You may recognize the pose she chose for Bilbo here....: . That's right, she's paying homage to the Professor himself.

A magnificent image again from Jemima Catlin, showing Bilbo leaving his his home and setting off on his adventure.

Another great image from Jemima Catlin's illustrated Hobbit is none other than Smaug himself. Because the book has been around for long, there exists many great versions of the great beast.


For ease of writing, and reading. this blog, I've chosen to select The Lord of the Rings as a single entity, rather than break it down.

"Rivendell" by John Howe. Quite the dazzling piece to gaze upon. It has some unique perspectives and angles.

"The Dark Tower" by John Howe. This piec eis something else: we get to see something from where the Dark Lord's land, we get a Nazgul and its Fell beast, and we get the eerie sky of darkness. Lots of nastiness (in the good way, of course!) in one image. We're definitely not in the comforts of the Shire or Rivendell, anymore....

"Watchul Peace" by John Howe. Howe takes us to the heights and beyond the clouds in the great city of Minas Tirith with this piece. The guards are on constant look out for any ill, something that comes with being so close to Mordor.....

"Gandalf the Grey" by John Howe. In The Lord of the Rings, we get to know a bit more about Gandalf...while equally being kept in the dark. This piece essentially defines the character of Gandalf in this image.

(name of piece unknown) by Alan Lee. Here, we have a Nazgul in flight atop a Fell Beast. This image appears in the illustrated edition(s) by Alan Lee, as a frontispiece to The Fellowship of the Ring, and as far as I can recall, is not seen with the text itself. I've always thought the image as is shown above, would make for an awesome print or poster, as well as a book cover.

Rivendell by Alan Lee. Please note, that the Alan Lee images come from the illustrated editions of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King in 2002. This, without a doubt, has to be one of, if not, THE finest interpretations of Rivendell I have ever seen.

Orthanc by Alan Lee. An iconic Alan Lee piece, as well as one that's oft associated with both Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings.

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields by Alan Lee. Alan captures the chaos, fury, and....everything to do with that battle in a single image. Even a terrible battle is beautiful to gaze upon.



"Earendil Searches Tirion" by Ted Nasmith. A glorious piece showing an earlier Age.

"Maglor Casts a Silmaril Into the Sea." by Ted Nasmith. Another fantastic piece by Nasmith. Truly a stunning image to behold.

"The Fall of Gonlin" by John Howe. Hard to take one's eyes off the destruction of a city....

There a few more as well! However those images are some of my favourites out of Middle-earth that I have seen. Big thank you goes out to to the following artists for sharing your talents with the world: Alan Lee, John Howe, Ted Nasmith, Jemima Catlin, Michael Hague, Joe Gilronan.....and many many others. 

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