Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Art from the Lord of the Rings: Covers From My Youth

If you aren't already aware, let me tell you there's been tons and tons of art created for The Lord of the Rings. Of course there were the Brothers Hildebrandt's calendars I posted about recently, but there's so much more.

I'll start with the covers for the editions I grew up with. The first are wild, psychedelic paintings by Barbara Remington. She hadn't read the books when she created them but had to go on a synopsis from a friend. So the original cover for The Hobbit she did had a lion and fruit that looked like some sort of wild gourds. Later versions removed the cat, but left in the pumpkins.

The second covers I became familiar with were paintings by Prof. Tolkien himself. I love his paintings, all washed out colors and faceted like something hand carved. I'll do a full post of his artwork soon. 

Hobbiton on the Styx
Barrels Out of Bond

Emus? Cassowaries? 

OK, Shelob and Cirith Ungol. Pretty cool.
Fangorn Forest

The Armies of Sauron... on crack!
Barad-dûr and Mount Doom

The Remington covers were so popular they were made available as a poster. Her work was lampooned on the cover of Bored of the Rings as well.


  1. The Barbara Remington covers are strangely appealing despite their oddity...the colours are rather pleasing.

    It's the 80s where we start seeing sets with *truly* hideous covers, I think. Though there are some earlier Polish editions that are impressively ugly (unlike movie posters, the communist era was not a good time for book design in Poland).

  2. The Remington covers are fascinating, coming just at the dawn of the psychedelic era (1965) but seemingly with no deliberate connection to it.

    I think of the eighties as the Darrell Sweetification of fantasy covers. I'm a fan of some of his work but at some point it became too ubiquitous and similar from one cover to another.

    The real horror comes with the advent of the photo realistic covers of today.