• Fine Printed Books and Manuscr auction at Christies

    Sale 8952

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts

    18 June 2013, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 30

    TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). Two autograph letters signed ('J.R.R. Tolkien') to Doris Sykes, Merton College, Oxford, and Headington, 28 January 1956 and n.d., 5½ pages, 4to (the first with minor markings in red pencil), envelope.

    Price Realised  

    TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). Two autograph letters signed ('J.R.R. Tolkien') to Doris Sykes, Merton College, Oxford, and Headington, 28 January 1956 and n.d., 5½ pages, 4to (the first with minor markings in red pencil), envelope.

    Discussing illustrations for The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien responds in the first letter to the recipient's drawings for the work, which he finds 'extremely good ... Apart from their technical skill ... they not only in many cases correspond closely to my vision, but even enrich it. I was particularly delighted by Treebeard with Merry and Pippin in his arms; but all your hobbits are admirable, and also the orcs, and Gimli. I also thought the scene under "Weathertop" and the Witch-King powerful. It was tackled in the only possible way: making Frodo and the King visible and the other Companions shadowy ... Aragorn alone does not closely correspond to my vision ... I think of him as sterner, keener and in face less "Greek" and straight-nosed, more Roman'; Tolkien adds with regret however that 'the immediate prospects of an illustrated edition are not good'. The second letter discusses the drawings further, and offers to send a defective set of the novels (the author lacking any perfect set) for Miss Sykes to carry on her work from, though any prospect of publication remains slight. (2)


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