Fans of Bilbo Baggins, Smaug and other iconic characters can now see how J.R.R. Tolkien envisioned Middle Earth in this once-in-a-generation exhibit of Tolkien’s original illustrations for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, in which Hobbiton, the Mountain and more first came to life.
The display is on view at The Morgan Library & Museum beginning Friday, January 25 through May 10. Below are some of the highlights.
Conversations with Smaug
Due to printing costs, this illustration of Smaug was not included in The Hobbit’s original edition. Smaug himself was inspired by the Dragon in the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf.
The Hill: Hobbiton-across-the Water
The landscape of the Shire, home to the Hobbits, was inspired by the countryside around Birmingham, England, where Tolkien spent his childhood.
Dust-jacket design for The Hobbit
In this design for The Hobbit’s cover, the birds on the right represent the forces of good, while the dragon on the left represents the forces of evil.