J.R.R Tolkien: The Artist

Generations have been awed, have grown up with and awed at the spectacle that is, The Lord of the Rings. The high fantasy epic ,set in Middle Earth, has captured the imaginations of people the world over ever since it was first published in the 1950s. The author was J.R.R Tolkien, a professor the University of Oxford. Having published the second largest selling novel of all time, he is somebody young, budding authors look up to and try to emulate his style of writing. However, few know that as talented a writer he was, he was also a wonderful artist.

Unlike other authors who have taken to the canvas rather casually, Tolkien approached his artwork with the kind of structure, thoughtfulness and imagination as seen in his words. With over 200 works spanning over six decades, Tolkien’s work range from sketches of the English countryside to abstract topics like wickedness, greed to his imagination of middle earth. A little known about him is his obsession with Calligraphy.

As seen in his books, his works have a mystical aura about them often transporting the observer into his world. There is a certain childlike innocence in his work and a dreamlike ideal world. There are signs of Viking influence in his work (because of the rune work in some) as well as influences of medieval romantic painters. The mood of the paintings is evident from the colours used. There is dreamlike elegance in his work, a promise of a strange, mysterious, fascinating anyone would want to escape to.


Tolkien illustrated the covers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and they are a far cry from the mechanized abstract digital art of today. He had also drawn all the maps of middle earth for the purposes of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ring which have mind boggling details.

With his words painting a thousand pictures, the works of J.R.R Tolkien as an artist is wondrous enough to render people speechless. His brush strokes have etched never to be forgotten works which shall remain for generations to come, having been preserved in both his books as well as in the heart and minds of people young and old who have grown up with his work.

Rahul Sanghavi

A budding engineer with interests ranging from movies to particle physics is what defines me. Music History is something I'm passionate about ."Carpe Diem" are the words I live by.

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