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The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,132 ratings  ·  59 reviews
J.R.R. Tolkien's complete artwork for his magisterial novel, published on the sixtieth anniversary of The Lord of the Rings

As he wrote The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien’s mental pictures often found expression in drawing, from rough sketches made within the manuscript to more finished illustrations. Only a few of these were meant for publication; most were aids to hel
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published October 1st 2015)
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Sean Barrs
Apr 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
To anyone reading this, I sincerely advise you not to buy this book. If you’re interested in the art of Tolkien then try The Art of the Hobbit.

That book actually has artwork in it. Tolkien did many illustrations for The Hobbit, and whilst they’re not exactly masterpieces, they show how he pictured his world. At least, in a way that his limited abilities would allow him. Tolkien was wonderful with maps and letters, but he could not create environment or characters very well. He was a master of th
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a beautifully presented book, full of artwork from Tolkien, that he used to aid him in his writing of "The Lord of the Rings." I must add, this book smells pretty good, too. I had this bought for me as a gift, and I finally found the time in my reading schedule to read it this month.

There are some gorgeous pictures of the vast landscape of Middle Earth, and, some rather interesting maps. I especially enjoyed the pages with the amazing dust covers displayed on them.

I love Tolkien and his
Neil R. Coulter
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tolkien fans
Shelves: tolkien
The only thing better than reading Tolkien is reading a book about Tolkien. And when it comes to books about Tolkien, the husband-and-wife team of Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull have written some of the best. I’d previously enjoyed their beautiful book The Art of The Hobbit, and the next volume, The Art of The Lord of the Rings, sat on my shelf for quite a while, just waiting for the right time to enjoy it. After a summer of heavy academic reading and preparation for new courses I’m designing ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: art-books
Enjoyable enough, but not entirely what I was expecting when I purchased this.

It's mostly full of half-finished scribbles and sketches drawn by Tolkien, a lot of which were more of a look into his thought process as he wrote than actual pieces of artwork he intended for others to see. There are a few of his finished paintings, which are gorgeous, but I was hoping to see more of those tbqh. Additionally, the dialogue felt? a little bit redundant. I would have much rather had a book full of his fi
Dr. Andrew Higgins
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Tolkien employed several world building components in the 'soup' of the secondary world he built for his life-long work on his legendarium. It is the specific craftsmanship and 'Elvish skill' of Tolkien's invention and development of each of these components that gives his secondary-world of Arda a much explored sense of 'depth' and 'verisimilitude' that has given Modern Fantasy an incredible work to explore and re-discover again and again. Each of these components (text, invented languages, par ...more
Marko Vasić
This atlas and textbook by versed duo Hammond & Scull is an excellent guideline for those who would like better to scrutinise the process of Tokien’s creation of the Middle-Earth’s maps, and illustrations regarding The Lord of the Rings books. Similar as in The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, thus here as well are enclosed comprehensive and quite useful texts and tales regarding the very nascency of the illustrations and maps. The reader will find Tolkien’s design for the pages from the Boo ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who needs this book? Well, truthfully, probably no one.

But is it still wicked cool to see a little bit of the world-building process of Tolkien? Yes, yes, it was.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
am secretly disappointed cuz but 5 stars for tolkien
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is a very thorough and scholarly collection of all of Tolkien's drawings, illustrations, maps, and even scribbles that he made in relation to The Lord of the Rings. Most of them I have not seen before. Tolkien's skill as an artist can vary, though his few finished drawings, often done in colored pencil, are all pleasant pieces, though I don't think anyone will call them masterpieces. Much of the material included in this book is material that Tolkien created in order to help him write. ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I was about to see The Lord of the Rings performed on stage (it ended up being the best theater experience of my life!), and to prepare for that I finally read The Art of the Lord of the Rings, which goes through the writing process of TLOTR in as much detail as possible and includes all the survived illustrations, maps and runes that Tolkien drew while he was creating the story. I really learned to appreciate what an immense job it had been and how precise Tolkien was with every little detail. ...more
Alexander Pyles
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very deep dive into Tolkien's personal art and sketches of both the languages of LOTR and the world. It was interesting to read up on his process as well as see what made it into the books themselves v.s. what did not. ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The artworks shown in the book are awesome and a must for all fans! The descriptions however have been written in a style which is too academic. However, it provides many many details!
Nele König
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow, I'm impressed how detailed the descriptions of Tolkiens Sketches, Maps and Artwork were. The authors put a lot effort in this book. ...more
Kam Yung Soh
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A marvelous book containing artwork by Tolkien that he produced to aid him in the writing of the book, The Lord of the Rings. It contains sketches of scenes and landscapes and especially maps of Middle Earth that covers the story he was telling at various levels of detail.

In contrast with the earlier book, The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien , most of the artwork produced here was not meant to be printed; they are meant more as a guide for Tolkien to refer to as he was writing the book, h
Todd Ross
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, fantasy
This is a seriously in depth book about the art JRR Tolkien made himself for his books and world. There is a large focus on maps and drawings of buildings Tolkien made as reference. And incredible detail about the notes Tolkien left about the drawings and tidbits of information on the items in the drawing and the text that relates to the piece.

This is more of an academic piece on Tolkien and less of a fluff filled art book. If you are interested in in depth analysis in Tolkien's art, this is def
Feb 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Previously, I read the author's comprehensive book on J.R.R. Tolkien's art and was quite pleased with it, but this book fell somewhat short. Clearly, Tolkien's artwork for the Lord of the Rings was never meant to be included in any sort of publication (besides the map), since they aren't more than prepatory sketches. Ironically, the few paintings that Tolkien did complete (and do appear to be finished artwork) were not included in publications unil their much later use for promotional merchandis ...more
A great book for all Tolkien fans. The pictures Tolkien drew while he was writing "The Lord of the Rings" are more like sketches and doodles in miscalleneous papers that helped him to plan the story and also how it's places would really look like as he said he didn't have time nor want to fully illustrate "The Lord of the Rings". Map sketches and book cover desings are very cool looking and also all the other stuff will certainly satisfy any Tolkien fan who likes to know more about his works. ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: tolkien
The title is misleading. This book is mostly filled with sketches - some very rudimentary - that Tolkien drew to help flesh out his ideas. I lost interest in the text after awhile, but I enjoyed studying the drawings with a magnifying glass (which I highly recommend using unless you have ultra-keen eyesight). Using one enhanced my enjoyment of the drawings a hundredfold as many of them are tiny and faint.
W.G. Saraband
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An absolute gem for fans of Tolkien's work. Showcases a significant amount of original art by JRR Tolkien himself, with extensive commentary on each drawing by the editors, providing very interesting pieces of information.

The artwork in itself is really great, the maps are fantastic, and the quality of the book is outstanding.

If Tolkien's work is dear to you, don't hesitate.
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting look into Tolkien's own designs and drawings. What I found funny was that a lot of the doodles seemed to be drawn on exam papers, backs of students' essays or course syllabi. Makes me wonder what it would have been like to be his student. ...more
John Gamesby
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is for the real Tolkienologist and shows the scribbled writings, maps and drawings that went into Lord of the rings. Hardly any of them clear or readable, why bother with them as they are undecipherable. Though it makes a book for the bookshelf.
Aug 29, 2019 added it
Shelves: tolkien, 2015
The Art of The Lord of the Rings is a magnificent book. Published to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of The Lord of the Rings, this collection of Tolkien’s art was edited by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, the top-notch Tolkien scholars previously responsible for The Art of The Hobbit, among other Tolkien-related books.

The Art of The Lord of the Rings includes all the art, the maps, the preliminary sketches and final versions that Tolkien sent his publishers for possible use as interior
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To get through text got me quite few days longer than I expected, but because it's big and heavy book, I could read it only sitting by the desk.
I own both "The Art of the Lord of the Rings" and "The Art of the Hobbit", but because I didn't read "Hobbit" just yet, I decided to read this one first. Maybe it's not exactly what I expected from title ("the art" suggests, well, art). But as someone who loves both art and calligraphy, I enjoyed the illustrations enough. Reading let me learn more about
Francesco Petraccone
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Vote: 4,15
Class: P-A1 (FP)

When I thought that there wasn't anything new to read about Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings (well, I could and I do read the Lord of the Rings every other year!) a friend of mine gave me this as a gift!
A wonderful journey through the making of The Lord of the Rings.
And I'm not speaking about the movie, but the real one: the making of the most famous fantasy work of all time!
Thank you, my friend. You've made me happy!
Katie (BooksRUs)
This is a good book for anyone who wants to know Tolkien's process of pictures and maps for LOTR. Think of it as the picture/art version of the Histories of Middle Earth - those books are actually referenced in this one, but you don't need to read those in order to enjoy this book. Not all of these are finished pictures, but more of what Tolkien was thinking during his process, which is why I liked it. ...more
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Potentially a misleading title, since the art Tolkien created for LotR is usually (literally) just marginalia to help himself visualize the narrative. Only the dust jackets were created for publication.

But those interested in the minutiae of fantasy world building will find the evolution of maps, letters, and important sites quite fascinating. Clearly explained, too.
Ian Galey
Jan 30, 2021 rated it liked it
To be clear, this is not so much a collection of completed art that Tolkien made for the Lord of the Rings as it is a compilation of sketches outlining his developmental portrayal of Middle-earth. It is mostly referential material and some official work. Regardless, it is an interesting look into the creative mind of Tolkien and his method and process for writing.
Kostas Efthimiou
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I got this as a free/gift when an Amazon store (bless them) sent me a wrong order on another Tolkien book.

It's one of the stars of my Tolkien collection, the book truly feels like a Premium and the art inside is very original and mostly unpopular.
Alex Jones
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is basically just an additional, gorgeously presented, extended appendix for The Lord of the Rings based on Tolkien's doodles. Honestly, that guy would scribble on anything. From what I gather, he spent most of the time writing his masterpieces on scrap pieces of paper. ...more
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So awesome! The art and the stories behind what he did is just so cool.
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Wayne G. Hammond was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in the suburb of Brooklyn. In 1975 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors from Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio, where he majored in English. In 1976 he received his Master of Arts in Library Science degree from the School of Library Science of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and from that year has been Assistant Libr ...more

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