Monday, October 12, 2015

The Brothers Hildebrandt's Tolkien Calendar 1977

The 1976 calendar sold well enough that they were hired to do it again.

While it still has its share of weak illustrations, the '77 calendar is better than the '76 one. 

I like the Scandinavian look to the dwarves' tunics and that Gandalf's shown hunched over under Biblo's low ceiling. Of course, it is missing a few dwarves.

More muscular than the picture of Smaug on Tolkien's map of the Wilderland, but I love this one. 

Much better than the painting of her husband on the previous calendar. They captured a great sort of Heidi-hippie girl vibe that's perfect for her.

I like this, but it's a terrible depiction of Imladris. It looks more like the mountain home for the witch from Hansel and Gretel than Elrond's refuge.

It's cramped and the bridge is too wide for my taste, but it's the first illustration I ever saw of the balrog. So I like it. 

Perhaps too clean, but I like its strangeness. I love the mallorn trees' straight vertical lines and the symmetry of their branches.

Frodo and Sam look a little too childlike but Faramir and his rangers look perfectly frightening hidden by shadows.

Like in the painting of Minas Morgul in the previous calendar, they give the the fortress a non-European look. 

Love this one. First, it's an interesting scene to choose. It's just two kings talking as it were. This time around the Rohirrim look much better, looking much more Dark Ages German than before.

Pig orcs attack! And how. Big and explosive and nobody skiing down the backs of ludicrous elephantoids.

While it's too static, I like this. The Hildebrandts' command of light and shading is on wonderful display. It looks like the veneration of a saint on her death bed.

If I was a hobbit, I wouldn't want to go in there either. The blast from Mount Doom is nicely apocalyptic. It's got the angular construction again, reminding you that it was built by the men of Gondor, not Sauron.

The Hildebrandts are in full Parrish mode here. It's stagey and everyone looks badly posed. 


  1. It looks like the covers for Mel Odom's Rover series were all cribbed from this calendar.

    Which was, well, truth in advertising...not "this is like Tolkien", more "this is like Tolkien as interpreted by someone who only saw the Hildebrandts' calendar paintings and tried to cobble together a story line from them."

  2. I was trying to remember who used the Faramir paiting for their cover. Thanks. All the ones not stolen from here are later Tolkien paintings by the brothers.

  3. I can't get past the wings on the helmet in the last painting. And is it just me, or do some of the men in these paintings remind you of the stage magician Doug Henning who was popular in the 70s?