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Old 09-13-2012, 04:28 PM   #1
William Cloud Hicklin
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The LR illustrations Tolkien almost approved

A fascinating and bittersweet story, never to my knowledge known until now, in the Times Literary Supplement.

http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1124297.ece

Had her timing not been star-crossed, there might have been an illustrated LR issued with the author's imprimatur.
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:10 PM   #2
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Wow! Quite a find

Has anyone located images of the other pictures?

I do quite like the 'Great River' picture featured in the article, at least the boats and scenery, not quite sure about the passengers.
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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It's also interesting to learn that Tolkien liked Pauline Baynes as an illustrator for lighter material like Farmer Giles, but didn't think her suitable for the LR.
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:54 AM   #4
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Wow... I don't like a lot of Tolkien based art but I love that picture of the great river and would be fascinated to see the rest. And bless JRRT for his personal generosity to her
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:38 PM   #5
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So...two of the pictures are in the hands of the artist herself and one with the Tolkiens but the rest are in a house somewhere in Derbyshire? I wonder if whoever has them knows what they are or what they might be worth? A bit scary as it's the kind of thing that might well end up at a car boot sale...

And Tolkien injured his leg after running down the stairs at the age of 76? I can imagine what sort of a task it was to empty out his study of all his papers and books and shift them down to the coast without his supervision. A nightmare!
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:15 PM   #6
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Since it is a friend of the artist I imagine they do and I hope that this publicity will mean they won't be lost if say the friend is of the same generation as Miss Fairburn and the house,like Tolkiens had to be packed up without their supervision. Be nice if the lost ones turned up....not beyond the realms... I don't like the Galadriel quite as much - the scenery is lovely but not sure about Galadriel's face..
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:02 AM   #7
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I'd be very interested to see any images that corresponded to Tolkien's own visions of his work. I wonder if she drew a balrog.

It seems that whenever I hear an anecdote about JRRT it makes me fonder of him. Former students mention his generosity and kindness, but here is a concrete example of him helping someone he barely knew. It's a great shame that he couldn't have prevailed upon Allen and Unwin to produce an illustrated LR using these illustrations, although it would have been horrendously expensive to buy and by now would be worth thousands a copy. Never say never, though. There's a market for that sort of thing these days.
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:11 AM   #8
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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=1&theater

Cropped version of Galadriel.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:23 AM   #9
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She looks very 'Viking', I think.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:47 AM   #10
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One more tidbit

http://www.myspace.com/oddssods/photos

Miss Fairburn's late husband wrote Tolkien inspired music and she illustrated the album. I wonder if it is still available... just listening now and the piano is more my style than the usual folky Tolkien music.
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Old 12-16-2014, 03:42 PM   #11
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Fabulous news which I hope may encourage a few last minute additions to Christmas lists. Miss Fairburn's pictures have been gathered and three more commissioned for the 2015 official Tolkien calendar. Has made my day to discover that she will belatedly get much deserved recognition and I hope remuneration for her work.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:52 AM   #12
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I notice that in the pictures on the web, the figures are too far away to see clearly or have hair covering their ears. It appears that the question of whether Tolkien’s Elves were supposed to have pointed ears in the period when Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings will still not be answered. Even if some of the pictures show Elvish ears, that will not indicate that they were among the pictures that Tolkien saw. Or possibly Tolkien was being polite.

For more illustrations, see http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/...y-fairburn.php .
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:06 PM   #13
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I notice that in the pictures on the web, the figures are too far away to see clearly or have hair covering their ears. It appears that the question of whether Tolkien’s Elves were supposed to have pointed ears in the period when Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings will still not be answered. Even if some of the pictures show Elvish ears, that will not indicate that they were among the pictures that Tolkien saw. Or possibly Tolkien was being polite.

For more illustrations, see http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/...y-fairburn.php .
I suppose Galadriel is the only absolutely certain one and as you point out the hairstyle elides the issue. By being polite do you mean in not mentioning the ears or about the pictures generally? His letter to his secretary seems to indicate a genuine enthusiasm for the work.
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Old 12-18-2014, 10:24 AM   #14
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I suppose Galadriel is the only absolutely certain one and as you point out the hairstyle elides the issue. By being polite do you mean in not mentioning the ears or about the picture generally?
I was referring specifically to The Squatter of Amon Rūdh’s wish to see images that corresponded to Tolkien’s own visions of his work and his wondering if she drew a balrog.

The article makes it clear that Tolkien was very enthusiastic about Fairburn’s work in general, but does not say that he approved every detail of every illustration which he saw, and can say nothing about the illustrations he didn’t see.

I imagine Tolkien fans saying, for example, that because Tolkien in generally liked Fairburn’s illustrations, as I do, therefore that everything she drew is absolutely official. But Tolkien liked Pauline Baynes as an artist, yet I once had an account, I think in a fanzine, claiming that Tolkien rather disliked her images of the Fellowship which she included in a Map of Middle-earth but said nothing of this to her except something like “Ah, there they all are.” But once she had departed he pulled out a ruler and began measuring the characters, feeling that the relative sizes were wrong. Pauline Baynes remarked that she had not been told by Tolkien that he was at all displeased.

A reference to this poster map appears in John D. Rateliff’s The History of the Hobbit, Part One, page 60. Rateliff writes in note 14:
These comments [on Gandalf’s height] come from an essay Tolkien wrote circa 1970 in response to seeing Pauline Baynes’ art for a poster-map of Middle-earth. In addition to ten vignettes on the map itself, Baynes added a headpiece at top showing all nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring (plus Bill the pony) and a tailpiece at the bottom showing the Black Riders, Gollum, Shelob, and a horde of Orcs. Although Tolkien greatly admired Baynes’ work on the whole, he disliked this particular piece so much that, in addition to writing this essay he had the top and bottom cropped off the original painting when he had it framed for presentation to his longtime secretary Joy Hill (personal communication, May 1987). The original essay is now in the Bodleian Library (Tolkien Papers A61 a, fol. 1-31).
See http://www.paulinebaynes.com/_galler...1984634761.jpg and http://ifisdead.net/wp-content/uploa...ine_Baynes.jpg .

I merely suggest that if Tolkien liked Fairburn’s work in general, he might not have mentioned to her anything he disliked.



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Old 12-18-2014, 05:35 PM   #15
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That is perfectly true. I lack artistic ability and am in awe of anyone who can transfer their own imaginings accurately, to provide a definitive representation of someone else's must be nigh on impossible. Thanks for the links... I agree the sizing is off but quite like the nazgul bit. So perhaps the most that can be claimed is both Baynes and Fairburn made agreeable interpretations at least some of the time.
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:22 AM   #16
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In my opinion another option on the ear issue is that perhaps Tolkien would have accepted (from illustrators) both a depiction of pointed or 'leaf-shaped' ears (in some measure more than men), or a depiction of regular ears.

Post Lord of the Rings Tolkien wrote:

Quote:
Q lasse 'leaf' (S las); pl. lassi (S lais). It is only applied to certain kinds of leaves, especially those of trees, and would not e.g. be used of leaf of a hyacinth (linque). It is thus possibly related to LAS 'listen', and S-LAS stem of Elvish words for 'ear'; Q hlas, dual hlaru. Sindarin dual lhaw, singular lhewig.

lasse 'leaf'.
So a root LAS- from which hail 'leaf-words', yet only applied to certain kinds of leaves, is thus possibly related to LAS- 'listen words' and SLAS- 'ear words'. Possibly also allows 'possibly not' in my opinion... and while we can note that this phrasing echoes 'some think this is related' in a similar statement about similar LAS- words back in Etymologies, in Etymologies the reason some thought this is given however, as it is stated there that the Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than human ears (in this earlier conception at least).

In ther words, in the 1950s or later Tolkien may or may not have made up his own mind about this detail, but even if he had, I think he was possibly prepared to accept illustrations of both ideas. Of course, internally both cannot be true, but even JRRT might play the game, meaning he might characterize his own vision as one interpretation of his 'translated work'.

Even if Tolkien had rejected his own former notion, if perhaps desiring to further distance his Quendi from the Elves of other legends, he had already published Elvish words like lassi 'leaves' and lasto 'listen' and Amon Lhaw.

Still, I think the path was yet open to the suggestion that this linguistic detail might have helped give rise to the 'incorrect' idea of Elves being pointy eared (the truer version of 'Elves' being revealed in his boooks). Again, if desired. Tolkien had put 'short' or 'winged' Elves off the table, but I wonder how he would have ulimately phrased the 'LAS- scenario' had he himself published his own account in The Lord of the Rings.

Anyway, I've already asked Hammond and Scull if the texts written in reaction to the artwork by Pauline Baynes (since not all of these descriptions have yet been published) reveal Tolkien's thoughts about Legolas' hair colour (who is hooded in the illustration by Pauline Baynes) or Elvish ears in general, and their answer was...

... no
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:14 AM   #17
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I agree with Mithalwen.

I suspect that Fairburn not showing Galadriel’s ears and, at least in the art shown on the web, avoiding showing other Elves at a size which would reveal their ear shape is an attempt on her part to avoid details that Tolkien does not specify in his text. I do not say this is wrong, either.

But that Tolkien was normally polite and that he did not normally write down any criticism he might of had of the art of others, perhaps in part because of an awareness of his own perceived defects as an artist, has led to many pieces Tolkien-inspired art being inaccurate or arguable.

Cor Blok’s Tolkien art has in recent years become well known in part because it is known that Tolkien generally approved of it. But even Blok admits that his depiction of Gollum is not in accord with what Tolkien relates and apologizes for it. See http://www.corblok.com/wp-content/uploads/Cor-Blok-2.jpg and http://www.corblok.com/wp-content/up...Cor-Blok-4.jpg . Tolkien must have noticed this, but it is not recorded that he said anything about it.

Pauline Baynes in the illustrations for The Adventures of Tom Bombadil has an illustration in which she shows Farmer Maggot and his family, but they are wearing slippers which goes against Tolkien’s general rule that Hobbits do not wear footwear. Father Maggot also sports a beard, more prominent than the down that Tolkien relates that many Stoors had on their chin. And Tom is here shown as the same size as the hobbits although in Fellowship, page 119, Tolkien writes that Tom: “… was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, ….” See http://users.bestweb.net/~jfgm/Mushr...adilBaynes.jpg . Also Tom and two of Maggot’s daughters are shown vigorously dancing but no music is shown being played. Perhaps Baynes has forgotten that Tolkien’s Middle-earth makes no mention of the invention of radio or we are supposed to imagine a fiddler just off the frame of the picture.

I suppose that Tolkien may have approved this illustration because the spirit behind it was excellent and it is an excellent illustration in many ways, though inaccurate.

From a post at http://middleearthnews.com/2013/01/0...books-to-life/ :
It wasn’t always easy for Pauline to interpret Tolkien’s imaginings into illustrations. In fact, when asked to clarify a detail he would often tell her to ‘Do whatever you think is best’.

One part of the story I find delightful is that Tolkien found Pauline’s interpretation of his work exactly right despite the fact that Pauline herself, never read The Lord of the Rings. When Tolkien asked Pauline to produce a cover for the trilogy she was at a loss, knowing nothing of the characters or what they looked like. But Pauline’s sister Angela was a fan of Tolkien and painted a picture of Middle-earth for Pauline. The similarities between Angela’s painting and Pauline’s cover for The Lord of the Rings are striking.

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