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The Art of the Hobbit Hardcover – Special Edition, 27 Oct 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 75th Anniversary Slipcased edition edition (27 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007440812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007440818
  • Product Dimensions: 26.1 x 2.3 x 26.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

J.R.R.Tolkien (1892-1973) was a distinguished academic, though he is best known for writing The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin, plus other stories and essays. His books have been translated into over 50 languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

Wayne G. Hammond is a librarian at the Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College, Massachusetts. Christina Scull is the former librarian of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London. As well as publishing books in their own names, together they have written ‘J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator’, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion’ and the two-volume ‘J.R.R.Tolkien Companion and Guide’.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Palmer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I love this book! It's beautiful. For an ardent Tolkien-ophile like me it's pure pleasure to read the erudite and informative text, or pore over Tolkien's fabulous pictures. Tolkien's best artworks are truly wonderful, and his maps and cover designs are all of a piece with his 'gesamtkunstwerk', the total work of art and imagination that is his special act of genius.

Definitely something for the buff, this book assumes knowledge of Tolkien and his world, including, very naturally, The Hobbit itself. It's wonderful to learn more about the evolution of the book, for example the 'Home Manuscript', from which he read the story to his children, and in which illustrations played their part right from the beginning, and see how his maps, sketches, illustrations and design work, all fed into an ever-evolving creative process.

Learning about some of the specific triggers for Tolkien's ideas, for example his 'adventure' in the Swiss Alps in 1911 that inspired the part of the story (and the corresponding illustration, 'The Mountain Path') in which Bilbo and his companions are in the mountains during a dramatic thunderstorm, or the historical buildings that inspired Beorn's hall, or the lake-town of Esgaroth, is both fascinating and deeply pleasurable.

The print quality is superb, with details that were not visible in the various book-form publications of The Hobbit now clearly there to be seen and enjoyed, and augmented by much more in the way of sketches and related artworks. As just one example of how this ancillary material enriches the Tolkien/Hobbit experience, consider that Tolkien wrote a beautifully executed calligraphic version of Thorin's note to Bilbo, in Tengwar script.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By GS on 28 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are familiar with Tolkien you will probably be familiar with many of the finished illustrations in this book, what makes it an essential Tolkien book though is all the sketches and roughs which Tolkien worked through in order to get to the finished illustrations. Add to this informative text and you have a winner. Finally, this book is very well produced, for the price it does have a nice quality feel about it, well worth the price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Garside on 4 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My main problem: this book doesn't fit very well on my Tolkien shelves (it is quite large and square, and so sticks out much further than the rest of the tall books)! However, I would definitely say that it is worth the purchase for fans interested in the evolution of the pictures in the finished book. I have the previous Tolkien art collections ('Pictures by Tolkien' and 'Artist and Illustrator') and neither of these covers all the pictures in this book, so it is still worth buying for those who have the earlier collections.

The book is extremely well presented, with a sturdy slipcase featuring the 'classic' cover design and then a white version of the Elvenking's hall picture printed onto blue-purple boards. The inside pages are glossy, with large, high-resolution pictures. There is a short introduction by the editors, giving some of the history and referring to the previously mentioned 'Artist and Illustrator', which they also compiled, as well as some text in each section describing the evolution of each artwork, referring to the enclosed numbered pictures. These are often on fold out sheets which can be quite hard to see if you aren't paying attention to the numbering systems, and folding these back in without creases can be a chore, but if you're used to messing around with the fiddly fold out maps at the end of the Tolkien's works then it shouldn't be a problem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mans Bjorkman on 20 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
"The Art of the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien" is a beautiful coffee-table book. Everything about it breathes quality, from the carefully reproduced pictures to the wonderful design of the slip-case. The book supposedly includes every picture that Tolkien drew, sketched or painted for "The Hobbit", including some samples of calligraphy in his own writing systems. Most of the pictures have been published elsewhere, but never before collected in one volume and reproduced with such consistently high quality. Those familiar with Hammond and Scull's J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator will know what to expect, although this book is significantly thinner than the earlier volume. For the true Tolkien collector, this is a must-have. For the more laid back Tolkien fan, it is a nice book to brag about.
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover
When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his classic book "The Hobbit," he also made several illustrations for it. "The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien" explores all the artwork that Tolkien produced for that book -- every sketch and version of the illustrations, and how they related to the text. It's not a read for casual fans, but for Tolkien aficionados.

Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull carefully study all the pictures Tolkien drew -- the trolls, the interior of Beorn's hall, the entrance to the Elf-King's home, Rivendell from different angles, Bag End and the surrounding Hobbiton, Lonely Mountain, and so on. Each picture is shown in large, clear formats (sometimes with fold-out pages).

But they don't just study the final product. Just about every piece of art Tolkien made for "The Hobbit" is in here, from rough pencil sketches to detailed maps and watercolors. Even the scribbles in the margins are preserved.

And there's a lot of analysis of how these pictures came to be. Scull and Hammond explore Tolkien's "Hobbit" art, artistic influences and the evolution of Tolkien's artwork, as well as some of the changes he made along the way (the Elf-King's gate abruptly changes shape). And they answer some important questions in their analyses, such as... why is Bilbo wearing boots in some of the pictures?

As an artist, Tolkien comes across as possessing real talent, but technically untutored. His art ranges from pencil sketches showing the basic outlines to delicate pen-and-ink work, and even color work in deep earth tones of brown and grey.

He wasn't a great artist -- Scull and Hammond note that he had some artistic issues, such as the scale of furniture in Bag End.
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