JRR Tolkien Sketch and design for dust-jacket for The Fellowship of the Ring
In January 1954, six months before the first volume of The Lord of the Rings was published Tolkien wa asked by Allen & Unwin to suggest a dust-jacket design for the book. He replied, late in February, that he was ‘without both time and inspiration’, but before another month had passed he produced two ‘notions’ for jackets if the first two volumes, the Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. “I can hardly call them more” than notions, he wrote, “owing to their technical deficiencies. But someone might be able to rectify them or produce something on their lines. (I have indicated the precise form and significance of the ‘elvish’ lettering.)”
Five designs by Tolkien of the Fellowship of the Ring jacket are extant. One differs from the rest in that a ribbon outlined in black ink and blue pencil runs behind the central ring (representing Sauron’s Ring), and the upper, red-jeweled ring (meant to be Narya, the ruby Ring of Fire worn by Gandalf, in symbolic opposition to Sauron) is offset from the centre, the runic text on the ribbon reads ‘in the land of shadows where the Mordor lie’, shadow and Mordor curiously inverted. The text in red tengwar around the centre Ring is, with minor differences, the Ring inscription in the Black Speech, as published in book 1, chapter 2: ‘Ash nazg etc..’ At bottom left and right are the other two of the three Elven rings, Nenya and Vilya, the Rings of Water and Air, set with adamant and sapphire. Of Tolkien’s other designs for the Fellowship jacket, [the second picture] is representative. The central device is almost fully realized: Narya suspended between stylized flames above the One Ring, within which floats the eye of Sauron (later, upon a field of black), and around which the Ring inscription is written in fiery tengwar.
From: “J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & iIlustrator”, by Hammond & Scull, page 179
this blog is normally exclusively the 100 but right now my shadowhunters blog is falling to shit so i’m gonna post this here while i clean it up. when i get around to that. someday before the hiatus is over.