J.R.R. Tolkien was a remarkably talented man, and famously provided a set of his own illustrations for his 1937 novel The Hobbit, though of course many editions have added those by other artists. But it wasn’t until the publisher HarperCollins was getting ready for the book’s 75th anniversary next year that they came upon a huge set of unpublished artwork he had created for the book in his archive at Oxford University.
The full set of illustrations will be published this Thursday in a new book called The Art of the Hobbit, and based on the samples that have been released beforehand I think it’s safe to say this is going to be a must-have for lovers of fantasy illustration. I mean, you can’t get a more authentic view of what Tolkien had in mind when he wrote the book than what came from his own hand — and the pictures are truly excellent.