The estate of renown author J.R.R. Tolkien has released a new website featuring artworks, some previously unseen, by the author of and its related trilogy, .
A linguist who created the land of Middle Earth to give life to his invented languages, Tolkien also was a talented artist and mapmaker who illustrated his ideas.
The father of the modern fantasy genre, Tolkien died in 1973. His books became bestsellers, with more than 100 million copies of sold since their initial release between 1954 and 1955.
Tolkien’s art and writings went hand and hand, with illustrations serving as an an integral part of his creative process. Sometimes the words would inspire the artwork, and sometimes drawing a scene would move the narrative in new directions.
The author meticulously mapped out the world of Middle Earth to ensure the accurate movements of his large cast of characters.
In addition to a number of detailed maps, the estate has released illustrations Tolkien created for , , and , as well as drawings he made for his children, landscapes madef from life, and imagined abstractions. The artworks are each accompanied by detailed descriptions.
The website’s new material includes a timeline of Tolkien’s life and examples of his calligraphy.
There are also previously unpublished photographs of Tolkien and his family, including his son Christopher, who drew the final versions of the maps for publication. He died in 2020.
The estate launched the site on February 26, an important date in lore. It marks the moment when, in 3019, the Fellowship of the Ring was broken, and Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee set off alone to Mordor.
The series reached a new audience when director Peter Jackson helmed the award-winning film trilogy from 2001 to 2003, and followed it with a prequel trilogy for from 2012 to 2014. A new streaming series, , based on Tolkien’s history of Middle Earth, is currently in production with Amazon, set for release on September 2.
See more Tolkien artworks below.