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A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to accompany The Lord of the Rings [Hardcover]

Cor Blok , Pieter Collier
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2011

This brand new full-colour art book reveals in sumptuous detail more than 100 paintings based on The Lord of the Rings by acclaimed Dutch artist, Cor Blok, many of which appear here for the first time.

Fifty years ago, shortly after The Lord of the Rings was first published, Cor Blok read the work and was completely captivated by its invention and epic storytelling. The breadth of imagination and powerful imagery inspired the young Dutch artist, and this spark of enthusiasm, coupled with his desire to create art that resembled a historical artefact in its own right, led to the creation of more than 100 paintings.

Following an exhibition at the Hague in 1961, JRR Tolkien’s publisher, Rayner Unwin, sent him five pictures. Tolkien was so taken with them that he met and corresponded with the artist and even bought some paintings for himself.

The series bears comparison with the Bayeux Tapestry, in which each tells an epic and complex story in deceptively simple style, but beneath this simplicity lies a compelling and powerful language of form that becomes more effective as the sequence of paintings unfolds.

The full-colour paintings in this new book are presented in story order so that the reader can enjoy them as the artist intended. They are accompanied by extracts from The Lord of the Rings and the artist also provides an extensive introduction illuminating the creation of the series and notes to accompany some of the major compositions. Many of the paintings appear for the very first time.

Readers will find Cor Blok's work refreshing, provocative, charming and wholly memorable – the bold and expressive style that he created stands as a unique achievement in the history of fantasy illustration. Rarely has an artist captured the essence of a writer's work in such singular fashion; the author found much to admire in Cor Blok’s work, and what higher accolade is there?

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A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to accompany The Lord of the Rings + The Art of the Hobbit + The Hobbit (pocket version)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007437986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007437986
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 25.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Cor Blok was born in The Hague in 1934, and attended the Academy of Fine Arts. After graduating in 1956, he worked at the Gemeentemuseum until 1965, where, among other roles, he compiled a catalogue of the museum’s large collection of works by Piet Mondrian. During this time he also painted about 140 pictures inspired by The Lord of the Rings, a selection of which was exhibited at The Hague. When a sample of his paintings was sent to JRR Tolkien this led to a correspondence and eventual meeting with the author, who bought two paintings and was presented with a third. Cor Blok lives in Amsterdam, where he is currently at work on a graphic novel.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Sebastian Palmer TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a body of work, Cor Blok's Tolkien Tapestry, gathered together here for the first time, in its most complete (120 of the 140 works Blok created) and well-printed manifestation ever, is intriguing, perplexing, sometimes dissatisfying, and occasionally brilliant. I'm really glad Harper Collins put this book out, allowing us to really get to grips with this until now elusive interpreter of Tolkien's bestselling masterpiece. Can I recommend it? Well, not without circumspection, and a few provisos. So, here goes.

If I'm completely candid, I was a little disappointed: the book is beautifully printed, and Blok's introductory essay is well written and illuminating, but the art is not of a consistent standard, as Blok himself admits. Tolkien and Blok corresponded, even meeting at one point, and Tolkien liked Blok's work enough to consider him for a mooted illustrated edition of LOTR, even buying a couple of his pieces. Like Tolkien, one of my favourites, and amongst those he bought, is the 'Battle Of The Hornburg'. And, again like Tolkien, I wish that more of Blok's other work were of this type and standard.

One of Blok's main artistic ploys is to leave out as much as detail as he can, both in terms of character and context. The idea - that this leaves more room for the viewer's imagination - is good, but it doesn't always work. It's true that the great beauty of the written word is that it does leave such an imaginative space, but pictures step boldly into that very gap. Blok seems to want to avoid that somehow.

Personally I think some of his best works are those in which he throws out this minimalist concept, such as 'Frodo's Vision On Amon Hen', or 'The Battle Of The Hornburg'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 1 Mar 2012
By Marie B
I love Cor Blok, and this has every single one of his LOTR paintings except 4 or 5 that are still lost.
It is a work of love and it is interesting and beautiful, and refreshingly devoid of so-called experts cashing in on the movies success.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the eye of the beholder. 12 Sep 2011
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
They say that Art is in the eye of the beholder as to what the viewer likes and enjoys. As a huge fan of the pieces that I've seen by Alan Lee as well as Tolkien's own pieces it's always interesting to see what others created to accompany the various scenes. Obviously with the films having been released in modern times many artists will use the beautiful scenes to help create an influence but to see pieces from the sixties as created by Cor Blok was not only fascinating but a new style for me which feels that it's a mish mash of styles from across the centuries which may not appeal to everyone.

Add to this the artist's correspondence with JRR Tolkien himself and it's a title that is fascinating and a coffee table item for fans of the series.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Worst! 20 Dec 2012
I have been a fan of JRR Tolkien for longer than I can remember and have seen many examples of art inspired by Middle-Earth.
This has to be the worst I have ever seen. If you love the art of artists like John Howe and Alan Lee, then don't go anywhere near this as you will be very disappointed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excelent book on illustration of artist Belgium Cor Blok. Te pictures is beautifull and the presentation of book very good.As for the negative the format of the book is rather small and unfortunately the color printed cover has nothing to do with the original, is very dull. Nose is a pity that this aspect has more care. I recommend the book anyway because it is the only publication where it appears the work of this interesting artist.A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to accompany The Lord of the Rings
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