This A2 print features a printed map of Middle-earth which was drawn for publication in 1954 by Tolkien’s youngest son, Christopher to his father’s specifications: Christopher’s initials, ‘CJRT’, can be seen underneath the compass. It was included in the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings, as a folded leaf tipped onto the back free endpaper, and was an essential guide for readers navigating through the then unfamiliar lands of Middle-earth.
Fifteen years after first publication, when The Lord of the Rings was becoming an international best-seller, Tolkien’s publisher, George Allen & Unwin, suggested producing a poster from this map. The long-standing working relationship between Baynes and Tolkien made her the natural choice as illustrator. This map was taken from the back of Baynes’ copy of The Lord of the Rings and passed back and forth between artist and author. Tolkien’s annotations show his detailed visual conception of Middle-earth and indeed its relationship to the real world. Of particular interest are his pencil comments (lower left) equating key places in Middle-earth with real world places:
‘Hobbiton is assumed to be approx at latitude of Oxford. The green vertical line is marked at distances of 100 miles (2 cms acc. to map scale). So you can judge roughly climate and Fauna / Flora etc. Minas Tirith is about a latitude of Ravenna (but is 900 miles east of Hobbiton more near Belgrade). Bottom of the Map (1400 miles) is about a latitude of Jerusalem. Umbar & City of Corsairs is about that of Cyprus.’
- Supplied rolled in a cardboard tube
- Printed in the UK exclusively for the Bodleian Libraries with kind permission of The Tolkien Estate
The Tolkien Monogramand the word TOLKIEN are both registered trademarks of The Tolkien Estate Limited.