A Tolkien Tapestry

From Tolkien Gateway
A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to accompany The Lord of the Rings
Publication Information
AuthorCor Blok
EditorPieter Collier
IllustratorCor Blok
Released1 September 2011

A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to accompany The Lord of the Rings is a collection of artworks by Cor Blok inspired by The Lord of the Rings.

Unpublished material by Tolkien

Included is a facsimile of a 1962 letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Blok (p. 6), and a quote from a 1961 letter to Rayner Unwin (pp. 7, 25). From visiting Tolkien in 1961, Blok also recalls some statements: Tolkien's view on illustrated editions of The Lord of the Rings (p. 15) and a point concerning Gollum (p. 25).[1]

From the publisher

This brand new full-colour art book reveals in sumptuous detail more than 100 paintings based on The Lord of the Rings by acclaimed Dutch artist, Cor Blok, many of which appear here for the first time.

Fifty years ago, shortly after The Lord of the Rings was first published, Cor Blok read the trilogy and was completely captivated by its invention and epic storytelling. The breadth of imagination and powerful imagery inspired the young Dutch artist, and this spark of enthusiasm, coupled with his desire to create art that resembled a historical artefact in its own right, led to the creation of more than 100 paintings.

Following an exhibition at the Hague in 1961, JRR Tolkien’s publisher, Rayner Unwin, sent him five pictures. Tolkien was so taken with them that he met and corresponded with the artist and even bought some paintings for himself.

The series bears comparison with the Bayeux Tapestry, in which each tells an epic and complex story in deceptively simple style, but beneath this simplicity lies a compelling and powerful language of form that becomes more effective as the sequence of paintings unfolds.

The approximately 100 full-colour paintings in this new book are presented in story order so that the reader can enjoy them as the artist intended. They are accompanied by extracts from The Lord of the Rings and the artist also provides an extensive introduction illuminating the creation of the series and notes to accompany some of the major compositions. Many of the paintings appear for the very first time.

Readers will find Cor Blok's work refreshing, provocative, charming and wholly memorable – the bold and expressive style that he created stands as a unique achievement in the history of fantasy illustration. Rarely has an artist captured the essence of a writer's work in such singular fashion; the author himself agreed, and what higher accolade is there?

Further reading

  • Review: Daniel Howick, "Visions of Middle-earth", Mallorn, vol. 53 (Spring 2012)

External links


  1. John D. Rateliff, The New Arrival: A TOLKIEN TAPESTRY, dated 2 November 2011, at Sacnoth's Scriptorium (accessed 3 November 2011)