THE HOBBIT Illustrated Edition Incorporates Tolkien Artwork for the First Time

In addition to being a talented wordsmith, Tolkien also created many incredible works of art for his writings. Over the years, we’ve seen more of these pieces released in many ways. And that includes in new editions of The Lord of the Rings books. And now, it’s The Hobbit‘s turn. Releasing this fall is a brand-new version of this Tolkien text. And this edition of The Hobbit comes complete with “over 50 sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien, himself.” Not to mention, the complete text comes printed in two colors. Here’s what we know about this new The Hobbit illustrated edition.

New The Hobbit Illustrated edition has artwork from JRR Tolkien
HarperCollins Publishers

The description for this new edition of The Hobbit shares more about what we can expect from the tome:

Tolkien’s own selection of finished paintings and drawings have become inseparable from his text, adorning editions of The Hobbit for more than 85 years. But the published art has afforded only a glimpse of Tolkien’s creative process, and many additional sketches, colored drawings and maps – although exhibited and published elsewhere – have never appeared within the pages of The Hobbit.

In this unique enhanced edition of Tolkien’s enchanting classic tale, the full panoply of his art is reproduced for the first time, presenting more than 50 illustrations to accompany Bilbo Baggins on his adventure ‘there and back again.’

Illustrated The Hobit chapter one with Tolkien sketch

A release further shares:

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. Imagine hearing the tale told to you by its author, spun from golden yarn as he wove the adventure for you thread by thread? Christopher Tolkien recalls that special time in his foreword included in this new illustrated edition of The Hobbit, and 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.

‘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.’

We’ve likely seen some of this Tolkien artwork before. But there’s nothing like seeing illustrations in-situ with the text they imagine. Although both pieces delight fans separately, they work best together. The illustrated version of The Lord of the Rings has indeed become immensely popular. And we’re sure the same will absolutely prove true with this enhanced edition of The Hobbit once it publishes. The new edition of The Hobbit releases on September 19, 2023. You can pre-order it now.

Originally published March 22, 2023.

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