New Illustrated Edition of ‘The Hobbit’ to Feature Artwork From J.R.R. Tolkien

J  R  R Tolkien - Credit: Haywood Magee/Getty Images
J R R Tolkien - Credit: Haywood Magee/Getty Images

HarperCollins will publish a new illustrated edition of The Hobbit for the first time since the fantasy novel’s original publication in 1937. It will feature a gallery of 50 paintings, maps, and drawings by J.R.R. Tolkien himself.

“Since it was first published in 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit has become a timeless classic, enchanting generations of readers around the world,” Jennifer Hart, Senior Vice President and Associate Publisher, said in a statement. “Tolkien famously not only wrote the story, he illustrated it as well, and the 13 charming paintings and black and white illustrations he produced are as well-known as the story of Bilbo and his quest to reach the mountain lair of Smaug the Dragon. But this is only a part of the story.”

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She added, “Now, in this new edition, readers will at last be able to enjoy the full panoply of J.R.R. Tolkien’s paintings, drawings, maps, and designs that richly capture the enchanted world of Bilbo Baggins.”

A spread from the new illustrated edition of ‘The Hobbit.’
A spread from the new illustrated edition of ‘The Hobbit.’

The new edition will include a foreword by Christopher Tolkien, which details the author’s original “home manuscript” version of the story.

“The tale of the little hobbit on a big adventure was first read by the professor to his children as part of their winter ‘reads, using his ‘home manuscript’ of the story,” Hart noted. “Leading Tolkien scholars Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull add that, in this ‘home manuscript,’ Tolkien would have been free to illustrate his story using any medium he wanted to: colored pencil, chalk, crayon, ink and washes, a far cry from the restrictions imposed by the publisher on the illustrations printed in the published book.”

hobbit tolkien illustrations
hobbit tolkien illustrations

The Hobbit was originally written by Tolkien for his children and later published on Sept. 21, 1937. It featured several black and white drawings and two maps created by the author, but when it was reprinted shortly after five color plates were added.

The Hobbit Illustrated by the Author will be released on Sept. 19, 2023. The book is available for pre-order here.

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