Every new version of The Lord of the Rings books that releases is precious in its own way. But this limited-edition set of magnificently illustrated LOTR books feels like it could give even The One Ring a run for its money. From their leather-bound edges to their cloth sides blocked in silver to the treasures they hold within, these books are nothing short of art pieces. And in fact, they do feature art. And this time, the featured artist is the iconic Alan Lee. But as gorgeous as this collection is, it is also incredibly rare. The Folio Society has only released 1,000 numbered copies of this new limited-edition The Lord of the Rings book set. And we’d probably rather walk into Mordor than hear about their full price.
Folio’s Limited Edition The Lord of the Rings Books
The official description for the books reveals more about this limited edition collection. Not only does it contain many incredible illustrations, but it comes with a lot of other perks as well. Here’s what The Folio Society had to say about this incredible new set:
The greatest classic of fantasy fiction and one of the most celebrated stories of all time, The Lord of the Rings defined a genre and created a world that inspires and enchants to this day. This exquisite three-volume set is presented in a silver-blocked slipcase (lined with a hidden illustration) with a new art print exclusive to this edition and a pair of maps drawn by Christopher Tolkien, printed together and presented in a cloth-covered case.
Alan Lee’s work is synonymous with the worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien, having defined the visual setting of Middle-earth for a generation. The majestic scale of the landscapes and the atmosphere he captures on the page – all in exquisite watercolour and pencil – make him the only choice to illustrate this, the ultimate edition of The Lord of the Rings.
Lee’s original illustrations have been reproduced to the artist’s exacting standards, in a scale and quality never seen before, and have been augmented by several entirely new images, including enchanting endpapers depicting the One Ring long before it came into Frodo’s possession, three frontispieces, two revised versions of existing illustrations, a new image titled ‘The Grey Havens’ and an exclusive giclée print.
As much a celebration of Lee’s art as it is of Tolkien’s legacy, Folio’s The Lord of the Rings is the ultimate edition for any collector. Strictly limited to 1,000 sets, the limitation page has been tipped in by hand and numbered and signed by Alan Lee.
The Art of Alan Lee
Folio also offers a bit more insight about its featured LOTR artist, Alan Lee. The company shares:
Alan Lee’s work is synonymous with the worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien, having defined the visual setting of Middle-earth for a generation. In 2001, Peter Jackson’s film adaptation helped to introduce the epic to an even wider audience, and Alan Lee was the natural choice for a lead concept artist winning him the 2004 Academy Award for Art Direction.
We love to see how the movies and the books come together in this latest release of the books. The Lord of the Rings movies have really set the tone for how many of us think about Tolkien’s work these days. So to unite the two always feels especially fun.
The official description of the books also shares a bit more about the LOTR art we can expect in the limited-edition collection:
As well as 53 colour illustrations across three volumes, each printed on gorgeous Veltique paper and hand-tipped within decorative borders, Lee has drawn 57 stunning new chapter openers, each one with details appropriate to the chapter: for The Council of Elrond, the decorative flourishes flow elegantly, reflecting the grandeur and love of nature of the elves; for The Bridge of Khazad-dûm, the patterns have become geometric and angular, a nod to the steadfast character of the dwarves.
Honestly, that sounds amazing. We wish we could see all 57 openers for ourselves, but we’ll have to content ourselves with imaging the magic for now.
The Price Tag on This Limited-Edition LOTR Set
To recap, we have shiny new Lord of the Rings books filled with art by one of the most influential The Lord of the Rings artist ever, including brand new, never-before-seen pieces. What could be the catch? Well, these books will set you back. The full collection goes for $1,500.00. And, admittedly, this limited edition LOTR collection is rare and gorgeous. But that price tag feels steep.
Still, this could make for the perfect gift, if you really love The Lord of the Rings. It does have an incredibly special feeling to it. And the books seem like they’ve come right from Middle-earth. We probably can’t take this leap ourselves. But we cheer you if you can.