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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
JRRT Artist and Illustrator, Chapter 2 Visons, Myths and Legends Part VI


Mar 12 2007, 12:41am

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JRRT Artist and Illustrator, Chapter 2 Visons, Myths and Legends Part VI Can't Post

The last few drawings in the chapter plus an open discussion question. Thank you all for being so patient and participating. Evil And a special thank you to Wynnie who uploaded the pictures I could not get into photobucket for me.

“Dragons were to play important part in his writings: Glórund (Glaurung) in ‘The Silmarillion’, Smaug in The Hobbit, and Chrysophylax in Farmer Giles of Ham, to name only three. He also depicted them in his art many times; several, besides Glórund, were in The Book of Ishness. One of these is a coiled dragon with a slight grin and a twinkle in his eye. [48], inscribed ‘hringboga heorte gefysed’. The words are derived from a passage in the Old English poem Beowulf…But Tolkien’s beast look more playful than perilous. In appearance it is very unlike Glórund, though also painted in September 1927. Glórund is golden, smooth-skinned, wingless and segmented. The ‘coiled dragon’ is green, scaled winged (though useless for flight), and snake-like except for its head, which is like that of a horse;… It shows the masterly use of transparent watercolours of which he was now capable, as well as his skill at design. Creating this asymmetrical yet carefully balanced beast, like a Celtic interlace decoration made naturalistic , was no mean feat.”

“In another drawing from May 1928, a dragon is in fiery action, contending with a warrior. [49]. Tolkien showed this picture too at his University Museum lecture, in relation to how the king and his attendant Wiglaf in Beowulf fought their dragon. He remarked that ‘this might be called “the wrong way to do it”’, and indeed, facing his foe head on led to Beowulf’s death even though he won the battle. But the drawing may not have been meant originally as an illustration of Beowulf. In the poem the dragon is fought with swords, and shields are described as discs; Tolkien, who knew the poem well, drew his warrior with an elongated shield and a spear.”

I like these little dragons more than Glórund.

Moonlight on Wood
“Twice, apparently around this time - and never again, for it did not reflect his personality – Tolkien also drew trees in a geometric Cubist style, enhanced by the application of blue-grey wash in blocks. One such drawing, Moonlight on a Wood [61], is an intriguing work with mythic resonances. It could serve as a set for a modern stage production.”

Open discussion question:

How much does your own art background/experience influence how you look at Tolkien’s work? Would you want any of his work to hang on your walls especially if Tolkien was just a name and there was no Middle Earth associated with it? To clarify, I grew up in a house with art in every room but the bathroom with the shower in it. My parents collected a wide range of styles, everything from medieval illuminated manuscripts, Japanese prints, calligraphy and science fiction. Regular trips to the local art museum were also part of my childhood. As an adult, I tend to gravitate towards those things that remind me of what I grew up with. I am not an artist just an appreciator. There are only a few of Tolkien’s pieces that I would actually want hanging on my walls if he were the artist only.

Subject User Time
JRRT Artist and Illustrator, Chapter 2 Visons, Myths and Legends Part VI Saelind Send a private message to Saelind Mar 12 2007, 12:41am
    My walls Finding Frodo Send a private message to Finding Frodo Mar 12 2007, 2:16am
    I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like ;-) Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Mar 12 2007, 3:39pm
    What's wall-worthy? Wynnie Send a private message to Wynnie Mar 12 2007, 5:49pm
        You're right - the legs are wrong dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Mar 15 2007, 3:24am
    I don't know art from...art a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Mar 13 2007, 11:10am
    Mahalo Nui Loa Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Mar 15 2007, 8:47am
    Just realized Wynnie Send a private message to Wynnie Mar 18 2007, 2:02pm


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