J.R.R. Tolkien’s Art

via J.R.R. Tolkien’s Little-Known, Gorgeous Art – Brain Pickings

‘They Slept in Beauty Side by Side’ | Pencil
Tolkien drew this in early 1904, when he was twelve, when his mother was hospitalized for diabetes and he had to stay with her younger sister, Jane, in Sussex. The drawing depicts Jane and her husband Edwin, and the title was likely inspired by a line from the popular 19th-century poem ‘The Graves of a Household’ by Felicia Dorothea Hemans, which goes: ‘They grew in beauty, side by side / They fill’d one home with glee.’
‘Untitled (Two Boys at the Seaside)’ | Watercolor, pencil
‘Water, Wind & Sand’ | Pencil, watercolor, white body color.
Tolkien drew this in early 1915 for ‘The Book of Ishness’
‘Moonlight on a Wood’ | Pencil, black ink, watercolor
‘Gandalf’ | Pencil, colored pencil

One of the most fascinating sections of the book, titled “Visions, Myths and Legends,” explores Tolkien’s drawings for abstract and psychological concepts like wickedness, weirdness, thinking, and time — something on which he had strong opinions.

‘Wickedness’ | Pencil, colored pencil
‘Afterwards’ | Pencil, colored pencil
‘Thought’ | Pencil
‘Undertenishness’ | Watercolor, black ink
‘Grownupishness’ | Black ink

(Curiously, Tolkien made the above drawing shortly after turning twenty-one, that special “grownupishness” rite of passage.)

J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator is a treasure trove in its entirety. Complement it with Tolkien on fairy tales, the psychology of fantasy, and why there’s no such thing as writing “for children.”


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