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  1. #1226
    Manni Folken MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute

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    Ummm.. WOW. I guess that about sums it for me.

  2. #1227
    Great Old One Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing has a brilliant future Ari_Racing's Avatar

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  3. #1228
    President-Matt Fisher Fan Club Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute

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    Quote Originally Posted by stroppygoblin View Post
    Some more recent additions to Alec's increasingly impressive Tolkien collection.

    This first one is very interesting. It is an original A3 drawing and an accompanying letter sent from Tolkien to a Miss Fairborn regarding some unsolicited sample illustrations she sent to him. The letter is unique in the fact that Tolkien was famously against having his book illustrated, but in the case of these drawings, he is very complimentary. However, the drawings were never used, full details can be read here

    EDIT: As the link is on the wayback internet archive, I am providing the website text as a condensed spoiler in case it becomes unavailable in the future)

    Spoiler:
    The Lord of the Rings has, almost from the moment it was published, inspired painters and visual artists of all kinds to depict scenes and characters from the novel and its world. The three volumes appeared over the course of fifteen months, 1954–5; and J. R. R. Tolkien wrote to his publisher in April 1956 that he was being “honoured or pestered by would-be illustrators”. In his seminal essay “On Fairy Stories” (1947), he argued against illustrations for stories of the fantasy or fairy-tale kind: “However good in themselves, illustrations do little good to fairy-stories. The radical distinction between all art (including drama) that offers a visible presentation and true literature is that . . . literature works from mind to mind and is thus more progenitive. It is at once more universal and more poignantly particular”.

    He did not make an exception for his own work. Indeed, although he was himself an accomplished amateur artist, who had illustrated his own children’s book, The Hobbit, and had for his own amusement made a considerable number of pictures based on scenes in The Lord of the Rings, they were not conceived as illustrations. On March 14, 1967, he wrote to his publisher, Rayner Unwin, “As far as an English edition goes, I myself am not at all anxious for The Lord of the Rings to be illustrated by anybody whether a genius or not”.

    Since Tolkien’s death, however, The Lord of the Rings has been illustrated by a number of artists, some of whom have quasi-official status, having been commissioned by Tolkien’s publishers, Allen and Unwin and (now) HarperCollins. John Howe, Roger Garland, Ted Nasmith and others have illustrated “Tolkien Calendars”. In 1992, for the hundredth anniversary of Tolkien’s birth, an edition of the book was published with fifty full-page colour illustrations by Alan Lee. Lee and Howe worked as conceptual designers for Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films of The Lord of the Rings, and some version of their (and Jackson’s) vision has been stamped on the story, at least for some readers (and certainly for non-readers). Of course, the work of none of these was seen or approved by the author.

    Among visual artists whose work Tolkien did see and approve was the English illustrator Pauline Baynes. She painted the two famous vistas – the originals of which Tolkien bought – first used on the slipcase of the scarce three-volume deluxe edition of The Lord of the Rings (1963) and subsequently on the cover of the much-reprinted single-volume paperback edition (1968). In 1970, an accomplished amateur artist, Princess Margrethe (now Queen Margrethe II) of Denmark, sent copies of some of her illustrations to Tolkien, and these were used in the Danish translations of the book (the illustrator’s name given as “Ingahild Grathmer”); from 1977 they were also used in the English editions published by the Folio Society. A major body of Tolkien-inspired works that have recently received wider publication are the 140 or so highly stylized images made in 1958–62 by Cor Blok, a Dutch professor of art. Some were exhibited in 1962–3, and from 1965 were used on the covers of the Dutch paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings. In October 2011, a comprehensive collection was published as A Tolkien Tapestry. The Tolkien Library website claims that “Cor Blok is the only artist . . . Tolkien admired enough to purchase some of his work”. This claim overlooks not only Pauline Baynes’s two vistas but also an interesting and complex episode in the book’s history which has until now not been publicly known.

    In May 1968 Tolkien was sent a number of samples of illustrations for The Lord of the Rings by a thirty-five-year-old woman writing from Winchester. Born in London, Mary Fairburn had led a peripatetic life. In the early 1950s, in her teens and early twenties, she studied art and art teaching at the Winchester School of Art, London University, and the Slade. She first worked as an art teacher in London, and in the late 1950s took a job in southwest Iran, teaching art and music to the children of employees of an American oil company. She had converted to Catholicism at the age of eighteen, and after she returned to England from Iran in 1960, she spent a few months as a novice of Les Auxiliaires Féminines Internationales, a lay Catholic order in Belgium. When she was told that she did not have a vocation, she returned to London, and then to Winchester. In 1961, at the age of twenty-eight, she took a job teaching English in Catanzaro in Calabria, and while living there, she entered and won an art competition in nearby Amantea on the Tyrrhenian coast; she used the prize money to leave Italy, and trek via Sicily across Africa. There, on the border of Kenya and Uganda, she met a Frenchman who became her first husband.

    Mary and Louis eventually returned to England, and lived in the village of Chilcombe; she exhibited her African paintings in Winchester in 1966, and taught art for a period at a girls’ secondary school in Andover. She and her husband planned to travel to Australia, but got no further than Lahore; on their way back to England again they stayed for a couple of months in Tehran with a friend of Mary’s from Winchester Art School days. He had read English at Cambridge, was working for the British Council, and was an enthusiastic devotee of The Lord of the Rings – at the time still a cult book and only available in three hardback volumes. Mary read his copies while staying in his house, was immediately possessed by the work, and began working on a suite of illustrations. Back in England, she brought a number of her sketches to a more finished state, and sent them with an enthusiastic letter to Tolkien.

    After seeing your specimens I am beginning to think that an illustrated edition might be a good thing
    Tolkien was at the time in the midst of many difficulties, which were only to get worse: he later described 1968 as an “appalling year”. But his first response to Mary Fairburn was a typewritten letter in which he told her that he thought the pictures were “splendid. They are better pictures in themselves and also show far more attention to the text than any that have yet been submitted to me”. She had sent at least three pictures, including a pen-and-ink illustration of Gandalf on the tower of Orthanc, and “a little sketch of Gollum”. Tolkien continues, “After seeing your specimens I am beginning to . . . think that an illustrated edition might be a good thing”. This is particularly significant. He did not simply like Miss Fairburn’s pictures: he liked them as illustrations of the book. By contrast, when in 1961 Tolkien first saw five of Cor Blok’s pictures, he said they were “most attractive, though four are bad as illustrations”. The distinction was obviously important to him: years before, when Milein Cosman – later renowned as an artist and illustrator – was suggested as a possible illustrator for Farmer Giles of Ham, he had told his publisher that he thought her “an artist of merit, though [he doubts] that she is an illustrator”. In this first letter to Miss Fairburn, he goes on to say that Pauline Baynes would not be a suitable illustrator for The Lord of the Rings: she cannot, he says, “rise to anything more noble or awe-inspiring”, and describes one of her pictures, of a dragon, as “ridiculous”. He told Mary Fairburn that he would be “very pleased indeed” to see her other pictures when they were finished.

    About three weeks after this very encouraging first contact, Mary Fairburn sent Tolkien three more paintings or sketches, including the Mirror of Galadriel and the Inn at Bree. Unfortunately, soon after they arrived Tolkien’s life and affairs were thrown into chaos. On June 17 he badly injured his leg while running down the stairs at home; he was in hospital for a month, and was incapacitated until mid-September. This accident could not have happened at a worse time, as the Tolkiens were planning (as he mentioned in his first letter to Mary Fairburn) to move house. He was seventy-six, and had retired in 1959, but was as busy as ever; and his wife in particular was anxious to leave the distractions of Oxford for a quieter life by the sea.

    As he was hospitalized, Tolkien’s books and papers were packed up by removers without his guidance or supervision, and in early July were moved to the bungalow near Bournemouth the Tolkiens had bought. Tolkien later wrote rather poignantly to his son Michael: “My bedroom-study at 76 [Sandfield Road, Headington, Oxford] was full of papers and half-written works – which I knew where to lay my hand on”; after the accident, he continues, “[I] never went back again – never saw my room, or my house, again”. Edith Tolkien moved into the new home at the end of July, but Tolkien, who was still unable even to write, was not fit enough to join his wife there until mid-August.

    Mary Fairburn, meanwhile, was in something of a panic, having now sent six or more pictures to Tolkien, and heard nothing in reply for over a month. She sent him another letter, expressing her “anxiety” (to use Tolkien’s term). This letter is lost, but Tolkien referred to it in a letter of August 7, to his secretary in Oxford, answering a number of enquiries, in which he wrote: “As for poor Miss Fairburn: . . . If you could let me have her address, I will write at once to her . . . . I was greatly interested in her drawings – especially since they caught in style and colouring something of my own feelings . . . . I will do what I can to compensate her for her anxiety and delay. It might be possible for her to come and see me (at my expense) as soon as the drawings are recovered.”

    Tolkien himself wrote to Miss Fairburn on September 4, giving, above the Oxford address in the printed letterhead, his new address and telephone number – of which he was otherwise rather protective. He apologized for the anxiety to her caused by his accident and other troubles, and explained that for many weeks his “library and papers were piled up like flood-damage”. He reported more happily that in unpacking he had found the three envelopes of her pictures, but that Rayner Unwin had been abroad, and he had been unable to show them to him. He warned her that it now seemed that “the prospect of an illustrated edition [was] not promising”, but softened this disappointing news by adding, “I like the pictures – certainly some of them – enough to make you a private offer of purchase”, and invited her to suggest a price.

    Tolkien wrote to Mary Fairburn again on October 10, responding this time very promptly to a letter from her, in which she told him that she had been “put out of my home . . . & I have been quite unable to find accommodation since, & am at present sleeping on the floor of a condemned basement, & at any moment will have to get out”. As well as being in rather desperate financial circumstances, she was clearly very disappointed that her pictures were not about to become illustrations for the book, having – not for the first or last time in her career – rather incautiously imagined that her ship was about to come in. His first letter, she wrote, was “so glowing & full of enthusiasm – it unfortunately gave me a false hope of success”. Tolkien was very sympathetic, saying he was “distressed” at her news, but adds that in his opinion, “your ill fortune [in the matter of the illustrations] . . . is mainly due to the present situation in the book world. Allen and Unwin have found that ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in any form is now so expensive that any attempt to produce it in a special or more sumptuous form is [bound to be] a failure”.

    On the other hand – difficult as this is to understand – she had in her letter declined his offer of purchase, and asked for the immediate return of the pictures, explaining that she had offered the original paintings to a friend in partial payment of a debt. In his reply, Tolkien says that he is “reluctantly sending back to you the pictures I have received”. In a postscript to her letter, however, Miss Fairburn had further intrigued him by mentioning three pictures that he had not yet seen, including depictions (which she describes) of the Old Forest and the Dead Marshes. He was still very curious about her work, and says he would very much like to see these pictures: “they sound most interesting, especially The Old Forest”.

    Before he could conclude this letter, Tolkien took a telephone call from Rayner Unwin, and in resuming it, he told Miss Fairburn that he had mentioned her and her illustrations to him. Unwin, he reports, “was not so decisive as I had expected, & was evidently ready to ‘consider’ an illustrated edition”. However, Tolkien continued, he also emphasized that pen-and-ink illustrations would be “much more likely to prove publishable”. Tolkien warned her that she should not expect a prompt decision, acknowledging that this was not a hopeful position for someone in her situation. He concluded the letter by saying that he was enclosing £50, “As a gift”; he was anxious that she should not refer to this in her reply. This was a substantial sum in 1968 – worth about £1,250 today.

    In her next letter, dated October 18, Miss Fairburn began by apologizing for the tone of her previous one. She was perhaps rather disconcerted to have received all her pictures back so promptly, and for such a hopeful and major enterprise to have seemingly come so suddenly to a disappointing conclusion. She says that she now understands that “if these things ever do come off, they evidently take much more time than I had realized”, and proposes that she send all the pictures back to Tolkien, and put the money he gave her towards paying off her debts, instead. She hopes that this might leave open the possibility of her pictures being used for their original purpose, as illustrations for an edition of the book.

    In his reply of November 4, the last surviving letter in this correspondence, Tolkien responds to this suggestion, saying that the “major difficulty, for me, is my lack of wall-space”. He goes on to ask, however, if she could return to him the “picture of Galadriel at the Well in Lorien” which, he says, “attracts me because it so very nearly corresponds to my own mental vision of the scene”, and which he would like to keep. He also says that it would be a good sample of her work to show to Rayner Unwin. He was clearly moved by her plight, and perhaps felt partly responsible for her having entertained unrealistic expectations. Although he had spoken in his letter of September 4 of making “a private offer of purchase”, in this letter he repeated his request that the arrangement between them be regarded not as payment for work, but as “a free gift on either side!”. (Tolkien was at this stage of his life very worried about tax; the purchase of a picture or pictures may have had complicating and potentially undesirable consequences for him and his estate, while a gift to an individual in a situation of hardship would not.) In a PS he says that he would “of course allow the picture to be included in any collection or exhibition of your work, or used for reproduction in an illustrated edition, as long as the original is ultimately returned to me”.

    It seems that the relationship between the writer and artist did not quite end at this point. According to Mary Fairburn, after the letter of October 10, she made pen-and-ink versions of a number of her illustrations, originally intending to produce one per chapter of the book, and by the time the whole project was abandoned she had illustrated the chapters of The Lord of the Rings up to and including “Treebeard” – twenty-six images in all, each done both as colour painting and as illustration in pen and ink. But in her many moves, which involved leaving belongings with friends for long periods, whole caches of her papers and books have been lost. The only one of her Tolkien illustrations she personally retains is a copy she made years later of the black-and-white depiction of Gandalf on the Tower of Orthanc, which she based on a photograph. However, she certainly complied with Tolkien’s request that he might have her original painting of Galadriel at the Well, as it is still in the possession of the Tolkien family.

    The rest of Mary Fairburn’s surviving Middle-earth illustrations have for forty years hung on the walls of a friend’s house in Derbyshire, to whom they were given after her hopes of a major commission as a book illustrator had been disappointed. The nine works depict The Old Forest (the departure from Bombadil’s house), The Inn at Bree, The Pass on Mount Caradhras, The Bridge at Khazad-Dum, Galadriel at the Well in Lorien (she apparently made a copy of this image), The Great River, Treebeard with Pippin and Merry, Gandalf on the Tower of Orthanc, and Sam and Frodo in Mordor with a Nazghul (probably the picture also described as the Dead Marshes). It is clear that Tolkien saw Gandalf on Orthanc, the Gollum sketch (now lost), Galadriel and the Inn at Bree. On each of the first two occasions she sent her work to him she certainly sent more than two pieces, so it may well be – as Miss Fairburn believes – that he saw all of them.

    Mary Fairburn’s images are a particularly significant response to The Lord of the Rings, and the artist’s correspondence with Tolkien makes them uniquely interesting and valuable. It may be argued that Tolkien was – irrespective of his actual feelings – usually polite to admirers who sent him their creative tributes to his work. In 1962, for example, when the Scottish composer Thea Musgrave proposed writing a musical drama based on the novel, Tolkien “told [her] that he would await further developments with interest”, although in writing to Rayner Unwin, he said more frankly that “he is not excited about the project”. But Tolkien’s comments to Mary Fairburn about her work go far beyond polite interest. When he complimented her on her “attention to the text”, and told her that her paintings conformed to his own “mental vision” and were causing him to reconsider his view that the book should not be illustrated, this was more than gratuitous flattery. And his reiterated request to see more of her paintings, and in particular his “private offer of purchase” and “gift” of £50, were far more than mild encouragement. Her paintings were seen and approved by him, not simply as fine paintings of his imaginary land, but as sympathetic and illuminating illustrations of his book, that – had circumstances been different – he might have been prepared to see printed alongside his text. They thus offer a unique insight into the author’s own vision of The Lord of the Rings.

    Even in the last sentence of his surviving letters to Mary Fairburn, Tolkien was still holding out some hope that there might one day be an edition of his book with her illustrations. He may by the end of their correspondence have felt that he should not – and certainly not without his publisher’s approval – have so encouraged someone who was in such a difficult position as Miss Fairburn was in 1968. After she and her husband separated, she left England and moved to Australia, where she later remarried. Now widowed and seventy-eight years old, she lives in an old house full of her pictures in a small provincial city in rural Victoria, where she is known as a folk musician, a taker-in of the homeless, and an agitator on the behalf of local conservation causes. She has written a number of books – mainly mythical tales, as well as a long and vivid autobiography – but has never enjoyed much luck with publishers. She still gives her profession as “artist”.



    I am grateful to Mary Fairburn and to the Tolkien Estate for permission to quote from his letters to her, and from his letter of August 7, 1968 to his secretary. Quotations from the letters of J. R. R. Tolkien © The J R R Tolkien Copyright Trust 2012. Copies of Mary Fairburn’s letters to Tolkien were kindly made available to me by the Tolkien Estate, and I quote from them here with Miss Fairburn’s permission.

    P.T.



    Paul Tankard is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Otago in Dunedin. His main research interests are Samuel Johnson, James Boswell and C. S. Lewis and his circle. His annotated selection of the journalism of James Boswell is forthcoming.






    Amazing find and quite the story! He was so concerned about one of his "fans' and went out of his way to make sure she was taken care. What a great story. Thanks for sharing.

    Simply amazing story! and awesome finds!

  4. #1229
    Honky Mahfah Stockerlone is a splendid one to behold Stockerlone is a splendid one to behold Stockerlone is a splendid one to behold Stockerlone is a splendid one to behold Stockerlone is a splendid one to behold Stockerlone is a splendid one to behold Stockerlone is a splendid one to behold Stockerlone is a splendid one to behold Stockerlone's Avatar

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    Better than SUPERAMAZING !!!

  5. #1230
    John F. Kennedy averagegatsby is a jewel in the rough averagegatsby is a jewel in the rough averagegatsby is a jewel in the rough

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    Alec's collection never ceases to amaze me! Thanks again for sharing.
    Looking for:
    • The Count of Monte Cristo - Folio Society Limited Edition
    • Farseer Trilogy - Subterranean Press - Lettered Edition

  6. #1231
    Live it. webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000 received positive rep from Stephen King webstar1000's Avatar

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    wow!!!
    HELP ME FIND
    Insomnia #459
    ANY S/L #459

  7. #1232
    Did you guess it was me? becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69 people like to rub elbows with me becca69's Avatar

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    Alec, I think this is my favorite so far!
    Wanted: Human skin edition of The Book of the Dead. Will accept PC copy.

  8. #1233
    President-Matt Fisher Fan Club Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute Roseannebarr has a reputation beyond repute

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    Quote Originally Posted by stroppygoblin View Post
    The second Tolkien item is a very rare piece indeed. Tolkien had several poems published in journals before 1925, however this short story is his first published book/pamphlet, twelve years before The Hobbit. Only 12 were printed as you can see at the bottom right of the first page this is number 5. Only four are known to still exist. Considering it is nearly 100 years old, the condition is remarkable.



    abcde

  9. #1234
    Citizen of Gilead Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of

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    Thank you to everyone for the amazing comments.
    I still find it hard to believe that such a flimsy pamphlet has survived nearly a hundred years in this condition.
    To try and imagine that The Hobbit was still twelve years away!!

  10. #1235
    Citizen of Gilead Johnny007 has much to be proud of Johnny007 has much to be proud of Johnny007 has much to be proud of Johnny007 has much to be proud of Johnny007 has much to be proud of Johnny007 has much to be proud of Johnny007 has much to be proud of Johnny007 has much to be proud of Johnny007 has much to be proud of

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    Congratulations, Alec! Extraordinary new items! That pretty much sums it up.

    I will touch base with you soon -- I hope.

    Best,
    John

  11. #1236
    Citizen of Gilead Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of

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    Thank you John.
    No hope about it, we will catch up very soon.
    Take care.
    Alec.

  12. #1237
    Bastard Son of Cort stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin is loved more than Jesus stroppygoblin's Avatar

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    Cichon Rebound Stand VII of XII







    For those that are unaware, Alec was asked to create the dedication for this book.

    "A real limited edition, far from being an expensive autograph stapled to a novel, is a treasure. And like all treasures do, it transforms the responsible owner into a caretaker, and being a caretaker of something as fragile and easily destroyed as ideas and images is not a bad thing but a good one...and so is the re-evaluation of what books are and what they do that necessarily follows." - Stephen King

  13. #1238
    Honky Mahfah ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan people like to rub elbows with me ur2ndbiggestfan's Avatar

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    Beautiful and extraordinary.
    I'm sure if there is intelligent life somewhere out there in the universe, they are wise enough to stay away from us.

    And the people bowed and prayed, to the cell phone god they made...

  14. #1239
    Breaker Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell has a reputation beyond repute Garrell's Avatar

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    Wow, very nice. Great rebounds of a true classic. Congrats Alec.
    Wish List:
    Any of the following flatsigned or inscribed-
    It, Shining, Salem’s Lot, Mr. Mercedes, The Stand
    Brother ARC, Seed ARC

  15. #1240
    Manni Folken MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute MikeDuke has a reputation beyond repute

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    Simply fantasic.

  16. #1241
    Citizen of Gilead Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of Alec has much to be proud of

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    Thank you Garrell, Mike and Steve.
    Extraordinary is correct, even King expresses his sorrow at the reminder of The Stand with the crisis over the last eighteen months. To have it listed on the signed book plate makes it all the more poignant.

  17. #1242
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    Alec did an amazing job on the dedication! The bookplate has a border of 19’s all around. I think this rebound edition will forever be a reminder of these difficult times! I love the pictures you posted! That background picture on the wall is awesome as well! Thanks for posting!

  18. #1243
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    Quote Originally Posted by stroppygoblin View Post
    Cichon Rebound Stand VII of XII







    For those that are unaware, Alec was asked to create the dedication for this book.

    Awesome pics!

  19. #1244
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roseannebarr View Post
    Alec did an amazing job on the dedication! The bookplate has a border of 19’s all around. I think this rebound edition will forever be a reminder of these difficult times! I love the pictures you posted! That background picture on the wall is awesome as well! Thanks for posting!
    Are those editions designed by Alec?
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  20. #1245
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    I was only able to write a short post here yesterday evening, so I thought to correct that now.
    First of all thank you to Simon for posting and straightening out some of my images. We were finally able to make some fixed arrangements, the bonus being that we will finally meet up in November, after nearly two years of just communicating by phone.
    In answer to the question posed by Jeremy, no, I do not design the books, if I did they would probably still be “in stock”. I was however asked to produce a dedication for the two copies of The Stand. To keep it short and yet still honour those people who worked so hard on our behalf, was not the easiest. Nonetheless I hope that in some measure I have achieved a result that recognises so many people’s commitment above and beyond what anyone would expect.
    While I am on the subject of the books Cichon produce, it is an opportunity to highlight their production standards and ethics.
    One of the most annoying parts of ordering a book and securing it, is the ridiculous amount of time that elapses between payment and receipt of the book. Not so with Cichon. They produce the books, send a money request and the books are shipped. I appreciate with cash flow this is impossible with all publishers, however some are really pushing the boundaries. It is also important to stress that you are not receiving a book as published by Suntup Editions, in fact Paul has set the bar so high that only a handful of small press publishers could even aspire to compete with his standard. With Cichon you are receiving a well constructed and finished product that would enhance any collector’s shelves. Excellent quality text blocks, solid rebinding and a very pleasing pastiche of other well known publishers.
    A couple of things that set Cichon apart is the limitation being so small and the ever important presence of a Stephen King signature, produced specifically for this series of books. In conclusion, an excellent product that has found its own level amongst some of the better known publishers.
    Good luck moving forward.
    Kindest regards
    Alec.

  21. #1246
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roseannebarr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stroppygoblin View Post
    Some more recent additions to Alec's increasingly impressive Tolkien collection.

    This first one is very interesting. It is an original A3 drawing and an accompanying letter sent from Tolkien to a Miss Fairborn regarding some unsolicited sample illustrations she sent to him. The letter is unique in the fact that Tolkien was famously against having his book illustrated, but in the case of these drawings, he is very complimentary. However, the drawings were never used, full details can be read here

    EDIT: As the link is on the wayback internet archive, I am providing the website text as a condensed spoiler in case it becomes unavailable in the future)

    Spoiler:
    The Lord of the Rings has, almost from the moment it was published, inspired painters and visual artists of all kinds to depict scenes and characters from the novel and its world. The three volumes appeared over the course of fifteen months, 1954–5; and J. R. R. Tolkien wrote to his publisher in April 1956 that he was being “honoured or pestered by would-be illustrators”. In his seminal essay “On Fairy Stories” (1947), he argued against illustrations for stories of the fantasy or fairy-tale kind: “However good in themselves, illustrations do little good to fairy-stories. The radical distinction between all art (including drama) that offers a visible presentation and true literature is that . . . literature works from mind to mind and is thus more progenitive. It is at once more universal and more poignantly particular”.

    He did not make an exception for his own work. Indeed, although he was himself an accomplished amateur artist, who had illustrated his own children’s book, The Hobbit, and had for his own amusement made a considerable number of pictures based on scenes in The Lord of the Rings, they were not conceived as illustrations. On March 14, 1967, he wrote to his publisher, Rayner Unwin, “As far as an English edition goes, I myself am not at all anxious for The Lord of the Rings to be illustrated by anybody whether a genius or not”.

    Since Tolkien’s death, however, The Lord of the Rings has been illustrated by a number of artists, some of whom have quasi-official status, having been commissioned by Tolkien’s publishers, Allen and Unwin and (now) HarperCollins. John Howe, Roger Garland, Ted Nasmith and others have illustrated “Tolkien Calendars”. In 1992, for the hundredth anniversary of Tolkien’s birth, an edition of the book was published with fifty full-page colour illustrations by Alan Lee. Lee and Howe worked as conceptual designers for Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films of The Lord of the Rings, and some version of their (and Jackson’s) vision has been stamped on the story, at least for some readers (and certainly for non-readers). Of course, the work of none of these was seen or approved by the author.

    Among visual artists whose work Tolkien did see and approve was the English illustrator Pauline Baynes. She painted the two famous vistas – the originals of which Tolkien bought – first used on the slipcase of the scarce three-volume deluxe edition of The Lord of the Rings (1963) and subsequently on the cover of the much-reprinted single-volume paperback edition (1968). In 1970, an accomplished amateur artist, Princess Margrethe (now Queen Margrethe II) of Denmark, sent copies of some of her illustrations to Tolkien, and these were used in the Danish translations of the book (the illustrator’s name given as “Ingahild Grathmer”); from 1977 they were also used in the English editions published by the Folio Society. A major body of Tolkien-inspired works that have recently received wider publication are the 140 or so highly stylized images made in 1958–62 by Cor Blok, a Dutch professor of art. Some were exhibited in 1962–3, and from 1965 were used on the covers of the Dutch paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings. In October 2011, a comprehensive collection was published as A Tolkien Tapestry. The Tolkien Library website claims that “Cor Blok is the only artist . . . Tolkien admired enough to purchase some of his work”. This claim overlooks not only Pauline Baynes’s two vistas but also an interesting and complex episode in the book’s history which has until now not been publicly known.

    In May 1968 Tolkien was sent a number of samples of illustrations for The Lord of the Rings by a thirty-five-year-old woman writing from Winchester. Born in London, Mary Fairburn had led a peripatetic life. In the early 1950s, in her teens and early twenties, she studied art and art teaching at the Winchester School of Art, London University, and the Slade. She first worked as an art teacher in London, and in the late 1950s took a job in southwest Iran, teaching art and music to the children of employees of an American oil company. She had converted to Catholicism at the age of eighteen, and after she returned to England from Iran in 1960, she spent a few months as a novice of Les Auxiliaires Féminines Internationales, a lay Catholic order in Belgium. When she was told that she did not have a vocation, she returned to London, and then to Winchester. In 1961, at the age of twenty-eight, she took a job teaching English in Catanzaro in Calabria, and while living there, she entered and won an art competition in nearby Amantea on the Tyrrhenian coast; she used the prize money to leave Italy, and trek via Sicily across Africa. There, on the border of Kenya and Uganda, she met a Frenchman who became her first husband.

    Mary and Louis eventually returned to England, and lived in the village of Chilcombe; she exhibited her African paintings in Winchester in 1966, and taught art for a period at a girls’ secondary school in Andover. She and her husband planned to travel to Australia, but got no further than Lahore; on their way back to England again they stayed for a couple of months in Tehran with a friend of Mary’s from Winchester Art School days. He had read English at Cambridge, was working for the British Council, and was an enthusiastic devotee of The Lord of the Rings – at the time still a cult book and only available in three hardback volumes. Mary read his copies while staying in his house, was immediately possessed by the work, and began working on a suite of illustrations. Back in England, she brought a number of her sketches to a more finished state, and sent them with an enthusiastic letter to Tolkien.

    After seeing your specimens I am beginning to think that an illustrated edition might be a good thing
    Tolkien was at the time in the midst of many difficulties, which were only to get worse: he later described 1968 as an “appalling year”. But his first response to Mary Fairburn was a typewritten letter in which he told her that he thought the pictures were “splendid. They are better pictures in themselves and also show far more attention to the text than any that have yet been submitted to me”. She had sent at least three pictures, including a pen-and-ink illustration of Gandalf on the tower of Orthanc, and “a little sketch of Gollum”. Tolkien continues, “After seeing your specimens I am beginning to . . . think that an illustrated edition might be a good thing”. This is particularly significant. He did not simply like Miss Fairburn’s pictures: he liked them as illustrations of the book. By contrast, when in 1961 Tolkien first saw five of Cor Blok’s pictures, he said they were “most attractive, though four are bad as illustrations”. The distinction was obviously important to him: years before, when Milein Cosman – later renowned as an artist and illustrator – was suggested as a possible illustrator for Farmer Giles of Ham, he had told his publisher that he thought her “an artist of merit, though [he doubts] that she is an illustrator”. In this first letter to Miss Fairburn, he goes on to say that Pauline Baynes would not be a suitable illustrator for The Lord of the Rings: she cannot, he says, “rise to anything more noble or awe-inspiring”, and describes one of her pictures, of a dragon, as “ridiculous”. He told Mary Fairburn that he would be “very pleased indeed” to see her other pictures when they were finished.

    About three weeks after this very encouraging first contact, Mary Fairburn sent Tolkien three more paintings or sketches, including the Mirror of Galadriel and the Inn at Bree. Unfortunately, soon after they arrived Tolkien’s life and affairs were thrown into chaos. On June 17 he badly injured his leg while running down the stairs at home; he was in hospital for a month, and was incapacitated until mid-September. This accident could not have happened at a worse time, as the Tolkiens were planning (as he mentioned in his first letter to Mary Fairburn) to move house. He was seventy-six, and had retired in 1959, but was as busy as ever; and his wife in particular was anxious to leave the distractions of Oxford for a quieter life by the sea.

    As he was hospitalized, Tolkien’s books and papers were packed up by removers without his guidance or supervision, and in early July were moved to the bungalow near Bournemouth the Tolkiens had bought. Tolkien later wrote rather poignantly to his son Michael: “My bedroom-study at 76 [Sandfield Road, Headington, Oxford] was full of papers and half-written works – which I knew where to lay my hand on”; after the accident, he continues, “[I] never went back again – never saw my room, or my house, again”. Edith Tolkien moved into the new home at the end of July, but Tolkien, who was still unable even to write, was not fit enough to join his wife there until mid-August.

    Mary Fairburn, meanwhile, was in something of a panic, having now sent six or more pictures to Tolkien, and heard nothing in reply for over a month. She sent him another letter, expressing her “anxiety” (to use Tolkien’s term). This letter is lost, but Tolkien referred to it in a letter of August 7, to his secretary in Oxford, answering a number of enquiries, in which he wrote: “As for poor Miss Fairburn: . . . If you could let me have her address, I will write at once to her . . . . I was greatly interested in her drawings – especially since they caught in style and colouring something of my own feelings . . . . I will do what I can to compensate her for her anxiety and delay. It might be possible for her to come and see me (at my expense) as soon as the drawings are recovered.”

    Tolkien himself wrote to Miss Fairburn on September 4, giving, above the Oxford address in the printed letterhead, his new address and telephone number – of which he was otherwise rather protective. He apologized for the anxiety to her caused by his accident and other troubles, and explained that for many weeks his “library and papers were piled up like flood-damage”. He reported more happily that in unpacking he had found the three envelopes of her pictures, but that Rayner Unwin had been abroad, and he had been unable to show them to him. He warned her that it now seemed that “the prospect of an illustrated edition [was] not promising”, but softened this disappointing news by adding, “I like the pictures – certainly some of them – enough to make you a private offer of purchase”, and invited her to suggest a price.

    Tolkien wrote to Mary Fairburn again on October 10, responding this time very promptly to a letter from her, in which she told him that she had been “put out of my home . . . & I have been quite unable to find accommodation since, & am at present sleeping on the floor of a condemned basement, & at any moment will have to get out”. As well as being in rather desperate financial circumstances, she was clearly very disappointed that her pictures were not about to become illustrations for the book, having – not for the first or last time in her career – rather incautiously imagined that her ship was about to come in. His first letter, she wrote, was “so glowing & full of enthusiasm – it unfortunately gave me a false hope of success”. Tolkien was very sympathetic, saying he was “distressed” at her news, but adds that in his opinion, “your ill fortune [in the matter of the illustrations] . . . is mainly due to the present situation in the book world. Allen and Unwin have found that ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in any form is now so expensive that any attempt to produce it in a special or more sumptuous form is [bound to be] a failure”.

    On the other hand – difficult as this is to understand – she had in her letter declined his offer of purchase, and asked for the immediate return of the pictures, explaining that she had offered the original paintings to a friend in partial payment of a debt. In his reply, Tolkien says that he is “reluctantly sending back to you the pictures I have received”. In a postscript to her letter, however, Miss Fairburn had further intrigued him by mentioning three pictures that he had not yet seen, including depictions (which she describes) of the Old Forest and the Dead Marshes. He was still very curious about her work, and says he would very much like to see these pictures: “they sound most interesting, especially The Old Forest”.

    Before he could conclude this letter, Tolkien took a telephone call from Rayner Unwin, and in resuming it, he told Miss Fairburn that he had mentioned her and her illustrations to him. Unwin, he reports, “was not so decisive as I had expected, & was evidently ready to ‘consider’ an illustrated edition”. However, Tolkien continued, he also emphasized that pen-and-ink illustrations would be “much more likely to prove publishable”. Tolkien warned her that she should not expect a prompt decision, acknowledging that this was not a hopeful position for someone in her situation. He concluded the letter by saying that he was enclosing £50, “As a gift”; he was anxious that she should not refer to this in her reply. This was a substantial sum in 1968 – worth about £1,250 today.

    In her next letter, dated October 18, Miss Fairburn began by apologizing for the tone of her previous one. She was perhaps rather disconcerted to have received all her pictures back so promptly, and for such a hopeful and major enterprise to have seemingly come so suddenly to a disappointing conclusion. She says that she now understands that “if these things ever do come off, they evidently take much more time than I had realized”, and proposes that she send all the pictures back to Tolkien, and put the money he gave her towards paying off her debts, instead. She hopes that this might leave open the possibility of her pictures being used for their original purpose, as illustrations for an edition of the book.

    In his reply of November 4, the last surviving letter in this correspondence, Tolkien responds to this suggestion, saying that the “major difficulty, for me, is my lack of wall-space”. He goes on to ask, however, if she could return to him the “picture of Galadriel at the Well in Lorien” which, he says, “attracts me because it so very nearly corresponds to my own mental vision of the scene”, and which he would like to keep. He also says that it would be a good sample of her work to show to Rayner Unwin. He was clearly moved by her plight, and perhaps felt partly responsible for her having entertained unrealistic expectations. Although he had spoken in his letter of September 4 of making “a private offer of purchase”, in this letter he repeated his request that the arrangement between them be regarded not as payment for work, but as “a free gift on either side!”. (Tolkien was at this stage of his life very worried about tax; the purchase of a picture or pictures may have had complicating and potentially undesirable consequences for him and his estate, while a gift to an individual in a situation of hardship would not.) In a PS he says that he would “of course allow the picture to be included in any collection or exhibition of your work, or used for reproduction in an illustrated edition, as long as the original is ultimately returned to me”.

    It seems that the relationship between the writer and artist did not quite end at this point. According to Mary Fairburn, after the letter of October 10, she made pen-and-ink versions of a number of her illustrations, originally intending to produce one per chapter of the book, and by the time the whole project was abandoned she had illustrated the chapters of The Lord of the Rings up to and including “Treebeard” – twenty-six images in all, each done both as colour painting and as illustration in pen and ink. But in her many moves, which involved leaving belongings with friends for long periods, whole caches of her papers and books have been lost. The only one of her Tolkien illustrations she personally retains is a copy she made years later of the black-and-white depiction of Gandalf on the Tower of Orthanc, which she based on a photograph. However, she certainly complied with Tolkien’s request that he might have her original painting of Galadriel at the Well, as it is still in the possession of the Tolkien family.

    The rest of Mary Fairburn’s surviving Middle-earth illustrations have for forty years hung on the walls of a friend’s house in Derbyshire, to whom they were given after her hopes of a major commission as a book illustrator had been disappointed. The nine works depict The Old Forest (the departure from Bombadil’s house), The Inn at Bree, The Pass on Mount Caradhras, The Bridge at Khazad-Dum, Galadriel at the Well in Lorien (she apparently made a copy of this image), The Great River, Treebeard with Pippin and Merry, Gandalf on the Tower of Orthanc, and Sam and Frodo in Mordor with a Nazghul (probably the picture also described as the Dead Marshes). It is clear that Tolkien saw Gandalf on Orthanc, the Gollum sketch (now lost), Galadriel and the Inn at Bree. On each of the first two occasions she sent her work to him she certainly sent more than two pieces, so it may well be – as Miss Fairburn believes – that he saw all of them.

    Mary Fairburn’s images are a particularly significant response to The Lord of the Rings, and the artist’s correspondence with Tolkien makes them uniquely interesting and valuable. It may be argued that Tolkien was – irrespective of his actual feelings – usually polite to admirers who sent him their creative tributes to his work. In 1962, for example, when the Scottish composer Thea Musgrave proposed writing a musical drama based on the novel, Tolkien “told [her] that he would await further developments with interest”, although in writing to Rayner Unwin, he said more frankly that “he is not excited about the project”. But Tolkien’s comments to Mary Fairburn about her work go far beyond polite interest. When he complimented her on her “attention to the text”, and told her that her paintings conformed to his own “mental vision” and were causing him to reconsider his view that the book should not be illustrated, this was more than gratuitous flattery. And his reiterated request to see more of her paintings, and in particular his “private offer of purchase” and “gift” of £50, were far more than mild encouragement. Her paintings were seen and approved by him, not simply as fine paintings of his imaginary land, but as sympathetic and illuminating illustrations of his book, that – had circumstances been different – he might have been prepared to see printed alongside his text. They thus offer a unique insight into the author’s own vision of The Lord of the Rings.

    Even in the last sentence of his surviving letters to Mary Fairburn, Tolkien was still holding out some hope that there might one day be an edition of his book with her illustrations. He may by the end of their correspondence have felt that he should not – and certainly not without his publisher’s approval – have so encouraged someone who was in such a difficult position as Miss Fairburn was in 1968. After she and her husband separated, she left England and moved to Australia, where she later remarried. Now widowed and seventy-eight years old, she lives in an old house full of her pictures in a small provincial city in rural Victoria, where she is known as a folk musician, a taker-in of the homeless, and an agitator on the behalf of local conservation causes. She has written a number of books – mainly mythical tales, as well as a long and vivid autobiography – but has never enjoyed much luck with publishers. She still gives her profession as “artist”.



    I am grateful to Mary Fairburn and to the Tolkien Estate for permission to quote from his letters to her, and from his letter of August 7, 1968 to his secretary. Quotations from the letters of J. R. R. Tolkien © The J R R Tolkien Copyright Trust 2012. Copies of Mary Fairburn’s letters to Tolkien were kindly made available to me by the Tolkien Estate, and I quote from them here with Miss Fairburn’s permission.

    P.T.



    Paul Tankard is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Otago in Dunedin. His main research interests are Samuel Johnson, James Boswell and C. S. Lewis and his circle. His annotated selection of the journalism of James Boswell is forthcoming.






    Amazing find and quite the story! He was so concerned about one of his "fans' and went out of his way to make sure she was taken care. What a great story. Thanks for sharing.

    Simply amazing story! and awesome finds!

    Amazing insight. I love that.
    It's better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission

  22. #1247
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    Quote Originally Posted by stroppygoblin View Post
    Cichon Rebound Stand VII of XII







    For those that are unaware, Alec was asked to create the dedication for this book.

    Awesome

  23. #1248
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alec View Post
    I was only able to write a short post here yesterday evening, so I thought to correct that now.
    First of all thank you to Simon for posting and straightening out some of my images. We were finally able to make some fixed arrangements, the bonus being that we will finally meet up in November, after nearly two years of just communicating by phone.
    In answer to the question posed by Jeremy, no, I do not design the books, if I did they would probably still be “in stock”. I was however asked to produce a dedication for the two copies of The Stand. To keep it short and yet still honour those people who worked so hard on our behalf, was not the easiest. Nonetheless I hope that in some measure I have achieved a result that recognises so many people’s commitment above and beyond what anyone would expect.
    While I am on the subject of the books Cichon produce, it is an opportunity to highlight their production standards and ethics.
    One of the most annoying parts of ordering a book and securing it, is the ridiculous amount of time that elapses between payment and receipt of the book. Not so with Cichon. They produce the books, send a money request and the books are shipped. I appreciate with cash flow this is impossible with all publishers, however some are really pushing the boundaries. It is also important to stress that you are not receiving a book as published by Suntup Editions, in fact Paul has set the bar so high that only a handful of small press publishers could even aspire to compete with his standard. With Cichon you are receiving a well constructed and finished product that would enhance any collector’s shelves. Excellent quality text blocks, solid rebinding and a very pleasing pastiche of other well known publishers.
    A couple of things that set Cichon apart is the limitation being so small and the ever important presence of a Stephen King signature, produced specifically for this series of books. In conclusion, an excellent product that has found its own level amongst some of the better known publishers.
    Good luck moving forward.
    Kindest regards
    Alec.
    The dedication is wonderful!

  24. #1249
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    Thanks a lot Alec for the reply and the information about those books (that I will never be able to touch)
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  25. #1250
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    Some new Tolkien art added to Alec's collection:

    Painted on board in oil, ceramic and gold leaf.
    The Nazgul or Dark Riders (Ringwraiths) from The Lord of the Rings.







    More info on the artist can be found here
    "A real limited edition, far from being an expensive autograph stapled to a novel, is a treasure. And like all treasures do, it transforms the responsible owner into a caretaker, and being a caretaker of something as fragile and easily destroyed as ideas and images is not a bad thing but a good one...and so is the re-evaluation of what books are and what they do that necessarily follows." - Stephen King

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