visual artist as well as a writer, J.R.R. Tolkien produced a
huge variety of illustrations thoughout his lifetime. With undeniable
talent, he enjoyed portraying the verdant landscapes of his
experience and his imagination. This gallery presents sketches,
designs and watercolours of these various real or imaginary places that he visited. Some of these illustrate and accompanied the creation of the landscapes of
his most famous works; while others are far less well-known, such as
the fantasies of Ishness, the “Shores of Faëry”, or the
enigmatic palace of Tanaqui.
His style ranges from charming and classical sketches of the streets of Oxford and pastoral watercolours, through a rapid evolution towards phantasmagorical lunar landscapes and a visionary pictorial world whose freedom of style is at times comparable to the works of some of the most avant-garde artists of his generation.
Some of these illustrations, alongside many others, are presented in Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond's J.R.R. Tolkien, Artist & Illustrator, published by HarperCollinsPublishers. You may also be interested in their article written for our website presenting “Tolkien's Art”.