'Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth' Traveling Exhibition Explores the Author's Art and Life

  • OXFORD, United Kingdom
  • /
  • June 04, 2018

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The Hobbit dust jacket (MS. Tolkien Drawings 32, © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937)
Bilbo comes to the huts of the Raft-elves (MS. Tolkien Drawings 29, © The Tolkien Estate
Bilbo woke up with the early sun in his eyes (MS. Tolkien Drawings 28, © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1938)

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. - Tolkien

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, an exhibition now on view in Oxford, UK, explores J.R.R. Tolkien's (1892–1973) amazing legacy from his genius as an artist, poet, linguist, and author to his academic career and private life.

More than 200 objects are on display, and many have never been shown before, in this rare exhibition. Visitors take a journey through Tolkien’s famous works, The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, with an array of draft manuscripts, striking illustrations and maps drawn for his publications. On display are Tolkien’s early abstract paintings from The Book of Ishness, the touching tales he wrote for his children, rare objects that belonged to Tolkien, exclusive fan mail; and private letters.

This once-in-a-generation exhibition runs from June 1 to October 28, 2018 at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. The Bodleian Libraries houses the largest collection of original Tolkien manuscripts and drawings in the world; these works are seldom on view. 

“Tolkien was a genius with a unique approach to literature,” said Richard Ovenden, Librarian at University of Oxford, to the Guardian. “His imagined world was created through a combination of his deep scholarship, his rich imagination and powerful creative talent, and informed by his own lived experiences.

The exhibition will travel to the Morgan Library in New York from January 25 to May 12, 2019, then continues to the Bibliothèque nationale de France.


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