Autograph Letter Signed, J.R.R. Tolkien, two pages, octavo, London. To "Mr. Wood, C/O Messrs Allen and Unwin, Ltd. 40 Museum Street London W.C. 1."
Tolkien writes: "Thank you for your very kind letter, which gave me great pleasure. I enclose the three cards that you sent, signed, hoping that you will retain one for yourself. I moved from Oxford two years ago into 'retirement'; not from writing but from publicity, though an accident in 1968 incapacitated me for six months. The above address will find me with little delay: I have a secretary there who sees that letters are not neglected."
In a postscript he adds: "The new cover of the India paper edition is a simplified version of the design I made years ago for Vol III. The erupting mountain and the long arm of Sauron, 'terrible but impotent'; in the top background could not be accommodated to stamping. Also the silver inscription between the wings and the throne, containing the words of Elendil (at the bottom of III 245) was too delicate for the purpose. Incidentally, since many purchasers have enquired about it, [strange characters] is Elendil's name without vowel-signs L-ND-L."
While there have been many famous illustrators of Tolkien's works (Pauline Baynes, Tim and Greg Hildebrandt, John Howe, Alan Lee, Ted Nasmith, Queen Margrethe of Denmark [when she was the Crown Princess]), perhaps the most famous of all is the author himself. The multi-talented philologist and Oxford professor developed a clear vision in his mind of what his fantasy characters and their world looked like, and originally executed this vision himself. [As a child, he had enjoyed drawing, especially landscapes and trees.] When the job had to be handed off to others, he was not always happy until he developed some favorites among the illustrators hired by his publishers to interpret his work.
The Lord of the Rings, written slowly between 1937 and 1949, and published in three volumes (due to post-war paper shortages) in 1954-55, was originally intended as a children's tale but grew darker and more serious in the writing. Its great success (along with The Hobbitt) when it was published in paperback in the United States led to a popular resurgence in the high fantasy genre.
Matted in two tonal shades of celery green in a pewter colored framed with a portrait of Tolkien seated wearing a houndstooth blazer . Framed dimensions are 15 3/4 inches wide by 12 3/4 inches high.
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