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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Maxfield Parrish & Tolkien?


May 23 2012, 5:12pm

Post #1 of 21 (638 views)
Maxfield Parrish & Tolkien? Can't Post

I'VE Been thinking for years about my pet theory ..MAXFIELD PARRISH. 1870-1966 was at the peak of his international popularity
when JRRT was born in 1903.

So it highly probable that as young child
JRRT was exposed... to. MPs. MANY illustrations of Fantasy Landscapes
characters from many Mythologies?

When I first viewed FOTR...The scenes of Elrond & Arwen in particular
just Screem. "Parrish! "
To. Me

Also I believe he influenced Alan Lee, John Howe, The Hildebrant Twins,
,etc ...

Tol Eressea

May 23 2012, 5:33pm

Post #2 of 21 (401 views)
Hi, Bomby [In reply to] Can't Post

I haven't heard of Maxwell Parrish in relation to Tolkien. (though I've just googled him, and boy, his pictures look like the Hildebrandts'). Tongue

I think it might be that you see resemblances between Parrish's works and Tolkien's writings, and guess that Parrish had an influence on Tolkien. You wouldn't be the first - Tolkien told in a letter of how some chap visited him with an armful of art prints and asked him to confirm that these artists had directly influenced him - it took Tolkien quite a while to convince him that this was not the case (if he ever did).

BTW - JRR was born in 1892, not 1903.


May 23 2012, 6:33pm

Post #3 of 21 (420 views)
Very geometric and pictorial... [In reply to] Can't Post

Could this be connected to Niggle's Parish? He didn't paint much, but he grew excellent potatoes...


May 23 2012, 7:02pm

Post #4 of 21 (381 views)
go to... [In reply to] Can't Post


Find this book "Maxfield Parrish and the American Imagists"

Complete Collection of his Extensive lengthy Career ...

(Better yet...buy this incredible volume from a used bookstore)
Support Used Bookstores! !!!! Buy LOCAL

...those wonder Bookworms ...are Hurting ...so Help them stay in business..
Xoxox Bomby


May 25 2012, 2:14am

Post #5 of 21 (347 views)
Was Parrish published in England during his most influential period? [In reply to] Can't Post

I suspect not. It's hard to imagine young Tolkien coming across copies of Colliers and Fields' Poems of Childhood in the turn of the century English Midlands.

Tolkien's sensibility towards tales was more influenced by the written word than by illustrations in any case. And as a visual artist, he shows more inclination to follow an engraving style than Parrish's lushly glazed compositions.

I agree that Parrish's interest in the early 20th century's version of what we now call "fantasy" is part of a larger neo-romantic trend that Tolkien also was caught up in, as a reaction against the mechanization of everyday life.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


May 25 2012, 3:32am

Post #6 of 21 (317 views)
Tolkien's drawings (some of them) remind me of... [In reply to] Can't Post

the illustrative style of Wanda Gag and Virginia Lee Burton. I can't put my finger on why, exactly, but I loosely attributed it to perhaps being a style popular in a certain era they all belonged to. I have quite a few children's books illustrated by each of them so I'm familiar with their work.

I had the same question you did... was Parrish popular in England?

LOTR soundtrack website
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


May 25 2012, 3:40am

Post #7 of 21 (345 views)
Page 171 of my Book says... [In reply to] Can't Post

"...Parrish's illustrations for "The Golden Age " were published in
New York and London in1899..."

"For the first time (Reprint in 1904)...MP's were exposed to the critical eye of the Europeans ...a German Art Critic reviewed it 1906...
in fact Kaiser William II ordered 12. Copies for his personal use..."

IMHO bomby suggests those us that Desire MiddleEarth Now
at look at his artworks online ...

And if you can Buy a copy of the Volume? Get 2 since you may to cut out prints and Frame them...or. make Presents of Prints?

Remember Hobbits always Give away presents on their Birthdays!

(its not My Birthday but thisPost is a Present from TB&G)


May 25 2012, 3:51am

Post #8 of 21 (312 views)
thanks for the quote [In reply to] Can't Post

I had to do papers on a variety of artists/illustrators while in school for graphic design. I did Aubrey Beardsley, Edward Gorey, Alexander Calder and Parrish. But they weren't exhaustive papers and I couldn't remember how well known Parrish was in England.

I like Parrish a lot and have a couple of his prints framed in our house.. including an old one from my husband's grandmother's house.

LOTR soundtrack website
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


May 25 2012, 4:11am

Post #9 of 21 (338 views)
Magpie...you are Mathom..of...the Highest Order [In reply to] Can't Post

we all Bow to you.

Xoxox TB&G

Tol Eressea

May 25 2012, 12:26pm

Post #10 of 21 (306 views)
You don't cut pictures out of books, do you? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ooohh, I feel faint..... *thud.


Tol Eressea

May 25 2012, 12:27pm

Post #11 of 21 (307 views)
From my own point of view - [In reply to] Can't Post

- I wouldn't say Parrish is all that popular in the UK.


May 25 2012, 1:19pm

Post #12 of 21 (332 views)
He does strike me as appealing more to American tastes... [In reply to] Can't Post

or at least, in his heyday. Today, boundaries are more muddled with the internet and all.

It's the nature of how his work was disseminated. He did illustrations for magazines and calendars - mostly sold in the US - although he did book illustrations as well.

He had an interesting approach to painting in terms of technique.

LOTR soundtrack website
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


May 25 2012, 3:10pm

Post #13 of 21 (308 views)
Okay..believe what yu want... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm proposing a pet theory?
children worldwide at the
beginning of the early 20th century
were exposed to The First illustrated children's literature in color?

Much that was popular like "Mother Goose In Prose " by L. Frank Baum
1897. "Dream Days " by Kenneth Grahame 1898..too many to list
that Tolkien was exposed to Parrish early in life.

simple theory ...that is all.
Xoxox ..Goldberry's one &only


May 25 2012, 6:32pm

Post #14 of 21 (299 views)
Bomby Failed ta Mention... [In reply to] Can't Post

That I had a number of reasons to bring up Maxfield Parrish

1. We are all so interested & excited to see these Movies
that looking at MP'S artwork helps to Visually STIMULATE
the colleagues here on...TORn.

2. To introduce to the many Young-at-Heart who have never heard of

3. Create sweet Dreams while we wait for PJ's movies.


May 25 2012, 6:51pm

Post #15 of 21 (309 views)
Here ya go, Bomby! [In reply to] Can't Post

Sweet dreams!Smile


The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”

Tol Eressea

May 25 2012, 9:35pm

Post #16 of 21 (293 views)
It's not a matter of belief - [In reply to] Can't Post

I know a bit about Tolkien. Quite a bit, actually - most of what I know is easily available to everybody; some is less well known (eg taken from rare and early editions of his academic works) and some of my bits of info come from members of his family. That stuff is mainly private; though some of these bits of info make it into print now and again.

Seriously - I haven't heard anything of Tolkien's having any liking of Parrish's works. No more than those of Lovecraft (there's a thread on this elsewhere on ToRn ATM).

Just because Parrish was active when JRR was a child doesn't constitute evidence for a theory. IMO.

(This post was edited by geordie on May 25 2012, 9:44pm)


May 25 2012, 10:53pm

Post #17 of 21 (299 views)
DarkDude ...of ALL of TORn... [In reply to] Can't Post

Any response from YOU
is a JOY!

(Goldberry made me?...write THAT)


May 26 2012, 10:38pm

Post #18 of 21 (295 views)
I Think this theory about Parrish's [In reply to] Can't Post

Influence on Children's illustrated books would be the
First Question I would ask John Howe or Alan Lee.

I wouldn't doubt this name came up during Art Departments
planning meeting's over 12 years ago.

In fact I'll go so far as to say
PJ probably was aware of MP
as a child.

I was hoping to give TORn posters
some EYE Candy
to hold us over until December ...

Xoxox Bomby that Badboy in the OldForest

(This post was edited by Bombadil on May 26 2012, 10:40pm)

Tol Eressea

May 27 2012, 9:49am

Post #19 of 21 (254 views)
My first question to John Howe [In reply to] Can't Post

- involved Balrogs. Actually, the title of this post is misleading. I only got to ask the one question (this was at a Q&A session with John, and Alan Lee, during the Fellowship Festival in London, some years back).

When it came to my turn, I hesitatingly began... 'You've made a lot of paintings of Gandalf and the Balrog...' John interrupted, 'Are you saying I'm obsessed? Well yes, I am..' Or words to that effect. Smile

The Fellowship Festival was a movie event; I only went because Alan lee and John Howe were there. I took along some items for them to sign - I limited myself to one each of their books and a set of their LotR prints; and the 1985 Tolkien calendar, which has illustrations by Howe, Lee, Nasmith and Garland. I got Ted to sign it later; now all I need is Garland !

The books I took were Merlin Dreams, illustrated by Alan lee; and 'Myth and Magic - The Art of John Howe'. I met Alan later on, at book-signing sessions at a couple of Tolkien - related events. Both he and John are very nice blokes; very generous with their time.

John has written an amusing article about meeting us Tolkien fans, on another website


- from which comes this excerpt:

... so tired my whole arm is numb and come up and ask for a detailed rendering of Galadriel’s family tree or a cutaway cross-section of Minas Tirith. I usually try on my world-weariest smile and say “How about just a signature instead, or perhaps a very scrawny and diminutive Orc seen from a great distance? Behind a hill?” Or they just wish for a signature only "I haven't decided who it's for yet." "Shall I write For eBay, then?" I usually ask. Speaking of dedications, the next person who, when I enquire “And this is for...?” brightly replies “It’s for me!” will get just that. For Me, with best wishes, John.

(This post was edited by geordie on May 27 2012, 9:54am)

Tol Eressea

May 27 2012, 9:58am

Post #20 of 21 (267 views)
John Howe's website [In reply to] Can't Post

- is very informative.




May 28 2012, 10:49am

Post #21 of 21 (314 views)
geordie spent about an hour on JH's site... [In reply to] Can't Post

I had been there before
but Not as long as this time
He mentioned the Golden Age of Illustration

but no specific reference to Parrish ...

The Beaux's Art and Art Nevo periods at the turn of the 20th century
was Pervasive... on both sides of the Atlantic
in particular before the WW1...so I was TRYING to put anyone of you
in "The Shoes of a sensitive Bookish...teenager"...named

(This post was edited by Bombadil on May 28 2012, 10:55am)


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