See rarely seen paintings by Middle-earth creator JRR Tolkien

JRR Tolkien not only wrote about Middle-earth, he also drew scenes from its fantasy world. His estate recently made a host of his paintings available for online viewing on their website, giving us additional details about Tolkien’s imagination.

You can browse the collection on the Tolkien Estate website. The collection is divided into paintings, maps and calligraphy, and contains examples of Tolkien’s illustrative work across the fictional landscape of Middle-earth. Twelve of these works, depending on the estate, have not previously been available to the public, including the author’s paintings of exotic flowers and birds, as well as a draft 1953 manuscript of The Return of Beorhtnoth’s Son Beorthhelm. But you may recognize some of these illustrations in various editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy that have arisen over the years.

No part of this collection has been presented publicly in such an accessible way, and you can see Tolkien’s illustrations based on his written works—The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion…as well as paintings he made for children and drawings inspired by real life, as well as other fantastic settings, he created entire fabrics.

Each image also comes with a description of what it entails and/or a backstory of Tolkien’s inspiration for the piece. Check them all out for yourself, at your leisure!

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