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Seeing Tolkien's Middle-earth through the eyes of his illustrators

tolkien hobbit (cor blok)

Over the years, many illustrators have talken a crack at the sweeping vistas and well-furnished hobbit holes of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. With The Hobbit finally in theaters, io9 gives us a look at the work of many such artists, ranging from Tolkien himself, to Where the Wild Things Are’s Maurice Sendak, to the Crown Princess of Denmark, Margrethe II. Not all of the work found favor with Tolkien, though. The author opened fire on Barbara Remington’s bizarre cover illustration for The Hobbit (in her defense, she hadn't read the book), saying:

"I think the cover is ugly; but I recognize that a main object of a paperback cover is to attract purchasers, and I suppose that you are better judges of what is attractive in USA than I am. I therefore will not enter into a debate about taste—(meaning though I did not say so: horrible colours and foul lettering)—but I must ask this about the vignette: what has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with pink bulbs? I do not understand how anybody who had read the tale (I hope you are one) could think such a picture would please the author."

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