The King Returns

Tolkien Can Draw? Who Knew! 7 Beautiful Hobbit Illustrations (PHOTOS)

Friday is the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. Turns out, J.R.R. Tolkien was also an accomplished amateur artist. He made drawings and painted color plates of some scenes from the novel. Here are seven beautiful illustrations he made, collected in The Art of the Hobbit.

The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust

The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust

Friday is the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. Turns out, J.R.R. Tolkien was also an accomplished amateur artist. He made drawings and painted color plates of some scenes from the novel. Here are seven beautiful illustrations he made, collected in The Art of the Hobbit.

The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust

The Hill: Hobbiton-across-the Water

The drawing next to the title page for the second printing (1937).

The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust

Bilbo Woke Up with the Early Sun in His Eyes

The hobbit is wearing black boots, but there’s no mention of them in the text. “There should be!” Tolkien remarked. “It has dropped out somehow or other in the various revisions.”

The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust

Bilbo Comes to the Huts of the Raft-elves

Said to be Tolkien’s favorite among his paintings.

The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust

Conversation With Smaug

Bilbo is detected by the great dragon, and bows and addresses him as “Smaug the Tremendous” and “Smaug the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities.”

The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust

Smaug Flies Round the Mountain

A watercolor of the scene.

The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

The Hall at Bag-End, Residence of B. Baggins Esquire

The final illustration in the first edition, which had 10 black-and-white pictures, two maps, and binding and dust jacket designed by Tolkien.

The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust

Final Dust-Jacket Art

The final dust jacket was printed in three flat colors: green, blue, and black. Red, for the sun, was added to some later editions. This is Tolkien’s final submission for his design, and just in case the publisher were to agree to more colors, he included notes in the margins to suggest that the dragon and the sun be colored pink, and “front row of large trees dark green?”