When The Hobbit first hit shelves 75 years ago, it featured a handful of illustrations by JRR Tolkien. Now, in honor of the now-classic fantasy novel’s diamond anniversary, HarperCollins is releasing The Art of the Hobbit , a collection of his sketches, drawings, paintings, and maps, on October 27. Over two dozen of the included works have never been published before, and were only recently discovered buried in Tolkien’s archive at Oxford’s Bodleian Library.
“It includes his conceptual sketches for the cover design, a couple of early versions of the maps and pages where he’s experimenting with the runic forms, as well as a couple of manuscript pages,” explains publisher David Brawn. “It shows that Tolkien’s creativity went beyond the writing, that it was a fully thought out conception… Tolkien was an accomplished amateur artist. He was a great admirer of Arthur Rackham and you can see a little bit of that style coming through.” Head over to The Guardian now to check out a slide show featuring a few of the earliest images from the collection.