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

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  602 ratings  ·  43 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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4.44  · 
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 ·  602 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
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
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
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
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
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.
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, hel
Todd Ross
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, non-fiction
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.
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.
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 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.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
am secretly disappointed cuz but 5 stars for tolkien
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
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!
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.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So awesome! The art and the stories behind what he did is just so cool.
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Art of The Lord of the Rings is the long-awaited companion volume to The Art of the Hobbit. The publisher kept the size of the hardcover the same (10" x 10"), which I always appreciate. There is nothing worse than having a book that belongs with another and them being different sizes! The length of this book is almost 250 pages, which is 100 pages more than The Art of the Hobbit. 250 pages is a generous plenty, but greedy Tolkien fan that I am I was hoping for close to 500 pages, since this ...more
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
It took me much longer to read this than I'd like to admit. Partially, this book isn't really written with a beginning and end, instead it focuses on different maps during Tolkien's massive undertaking when creating Lord of the Rings. The captions are rather dry, mostly dealing with a lot of map and geography terms, which I will admit, is not interesting to me, but seeing it in the context of Tolkien's work, is impressive how he constructed the Lord of the Rings saga.
The title is a bit deceivin
Jeni Enjaian
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I. Absolutely. Loved. This. Book.
First, I am obsessed with anything Lord of the Rings related. It is hands-down, no questions asked, my favorite book ever.
Second, in all that I have read about both Tolkein and all things Middle-earth related, I have not been able to figure out why I love this mythology so much. Then I picked up this book. Reading about the effort that Tolkein put into his book helped me understand how it is so much more than a book; it is a work of history, only slightly fictio
Willian Molinari
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: text, fiction, tolkien
This is one of those books for Tolkien fans. I do not recommend it if you did not read other books by Tolkien.

It is nice to read if you already read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. This book shows a lot of details that Tolkien used as a guideline to write the book. He did not consider himself an artist but this book shows awesome drawings made by him.

As it's about all drawings made during the writing of The Lord of the Rings, there are some drafts of drawings and other stuff that is not in
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien
After finishing up "The Art of The Hobbit", I was looking forward to diving into this one.

It is a great 'sequel' to "The Art of The Hobbit", as well as a great companion piece to any edition of "The Lord of the Rings" you may own (most especially the box set featuring the Reader's Companion). It features lots of reference to The History of the Lord of the Rings (books 6-9 of The History of Middle-earth), which makes sense, as Tolkien did lots of artwork (mostly maps or other designs) as he wrot
Sep 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tolkein had arthritis in his hand and no time to illustrated Lord of the Rings like he did the Hobbit. That being said he did a lot of sketching and drawing anyway; it helped him world build and orientate himself. Some bits did make in to the final book and it is so interesting to see him work through different changes and iterations (even in aspects you may not think about like the typeface for the Black Speech inscription on the One Ring or the G ruin that Gandalf signs off with or Balin's gra ...more
Michael Joosten
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Honestly, between the HoME and Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien, there isn't really anything significant in this book that hasn't been published already and the text itself mostly follows suit. Like most Scull and Hammond projects, however, the purpose here is to curate information about Tolkien, and it does this well. The Art of The Lord of the Rings is a glossy, comprehensive book containing all the known art (I use the term loosely...) Tolkien created in the process of creating his epic.
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Honestly, not as fantastic as the book of art from the Hobbit. Most of Tolkien's art for LoTRs consisted of very vague sketches of landscapes and maps. There were a few really really amazing pieces of cartography or calligraphy, like the lost books Tolkien actually created, but mostly it was simple sketches used to help him keep the story accurately going.

One thing I do like about these books of art is that they don't try to speak for Tolkien. There are some nerds/people who claim to know exact
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it

A beautiful book with color reproductions of Tolkien's drawings and their progress through various drafts. I started out reading the accompanying text, but soon focused all of my attention on the images themselves. The evolution of the maps and key landmarks in Middle Earth are the highlights. Enjoyable, but best gotten from your local library. Not an essential part of a Tolkien fan's personal library.
Aaron White
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting book. The very few actual full-size color pieces by Tolkien are awesome and gorgeous, but most of the rest of the art in this book is very vague sketches or tiny doodles included in Tolkien's papers. Some of these were interesting, some of the maps and book cover mock ups were great, but overall, I would rather have just had an illustrated copy of Lord of the Rings, with Tolkien's illustrations and cover art.
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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