Alan Lee

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Alan Lee.jpg
Alan Lee
Biographical information
Born20 August, 1947
LocationDartmoor, Devon, UK

Alan Lee is a renowned British artist. He has illustrated numerous Tolkien books and calendars. Together with John Howe, Lee was a concept artist for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series.


Alan Lee was born in London, and attended the Ealing School of Art.[1] At the advice of a friend, he read The Lord of the Rings when he was 17, and it greatly influenced his professional work. He had at that time never heard of J.R.R. Tolkien or The Hobbit.[2] He moved to Dartmoor and married Marja Kruÿt. They have one daughter together, Virginia.[3][4]

Alan has suffered many deaths in his lifetime, including his father's when he was only 13 years of age.

In his paintings, Lee uses watercolour. He describes his style as a combination of Realistic and Romantic.[5]

Peter Jackson's Middle-earth film series[edit]

On November 13, 1997, New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson sent a parcel containing "Forgotten Silver" and "Heavenly Creatures", and a letter explaining an upcoming movie project, then still for Miramax. Jackson was greatly inspired by Lee, and wanted him to be part of the crew. Lee watched the movies, and phoned back 3,5 hours later to say yes.[6] Three weeks later he flew to New Zealand, where he and John Howe joined the Weta Workshop. He would live in New Zealand for six years, before returning to Dartmoor.[7] His daughter Virginia also worked on the movie; one of her contributions was woodwork for the throne of Théoden.[7]

Lee has two cameos in Peter Jackson's movies: he appears as the second from the right of the nine Kings of Men in The Fellowship of the Ring, along with John Howe, and as a man of Rohan at the armoury of the Hornburg in The Two Towers, along with Dan Hennah.

Lee expressed interest in working on The Hobbit, and stated that "It would have to be a pretty special film to match the experience of working on The Lord of the Rings".[8] Lee was involved on work on The Hobbit, once again along with John Howe.

Lee and Howe together drew the artwork of the cast at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. For The Battle of the Five Armies, the sketching of the cast was split by nationality; John Howe drew Tauriel / Evangeline Lilly, as they are both Canadian.[source?]

Published artwork[edit]


Bibliography, selected[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. IMDb biography
  2. Interview,
  3. Biography of Marja Lee Kruÿt.
  4. Interview,
  5. "Designing Middle-earth", The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Extended Edition.
  6. "Lord of the Drawings", BBC Interview.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Designing Middle-earth", The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Extended Edition.
  8. "Lord of the Drawings", BBC Interview.
Illustrators of The Hobbit
Internal art J.R.R. Tolkien (1937-present) · Eric Fraser (The Folio Society: 1979, 1992-present) · Michael Hague (1984-1992) · David T. Wenzel (graphic novel: 1989-present) · Alan Lee (1997-present) · David Wyatt (1998-2001, 2012-2013) · John Howe (pop-up: 1999) · Jemima Catlin (2013-present)
Cover art only J.R.R. Tolkien (1937-present) · Pauline Baynes (1961) · Roger Garland (1987-1989) · John Howe (1991-present) · Ted Nasmith (1989-1991) · Barbara Remington (1965 US)
Illustrators of The Lord of the Rings
Internal art J.R.R. Tolkien (1937-present) · Eric Fraser/Ingahild Grathmer (The Folio Society: 1979, 1992-present) · Alan Lee (1997-present)
Cover art only J.R.R. Tolkien (1937-present) · Pauline Baynes (1970-1989) · Roger Garland (1983-1991) · John Howe (1991-present) · Ted Nasmith (1990) · Geoff Taylor (1999)
Illustrators of official Tolkien calendars
Emily Austin (2023) · Pauline Baynes (1973, 1974) · Cor Blok (2011, 2012) · Jemima Catlin (2014) · Jenny Dolfen (2023) · Inger Edelfeldt (1985) · Mary Fairburn (2015) · Roger Garland (1984, 1987, 1988, 1989) · Spiros Gelekas (2023) · Justin Gerard (2023) · Donato Giancola (2023) · Michael Hague (1986) · The Brothers Hildebrandt (1976 US, 1977 US, 1978 US) · John Howe (1987, 1988, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2013, 2021) · Tove Jansson (2016) · Michael Kaluta (1994) · Tim Kirk (1975) · Alan Lee (1987, 1993, 1999, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) · Ted Nasmith (1987, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2021, 2022) · Kip Rasmussen (2023) · Darrell Sweet (1982) · J.R.R. Tolkien (1973, 1974, 1976 UK, 1977 UK, 1978 UK, 1979, 2005, 2006, 2017)