Letter to Mary Fairburn (4 November 1968)

From Tolkien Gateway

On 4 November 1968, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to Mary Fairburn.[1]

  • Contents: Tolkien responds to Miss Fairburn's letter of October 18, in which she had suggested to return all her illustrations for The Lord of the Rings to him. Tolkien says that a "major difficulty, for me, is my lack of wall-space", but asks if she could send him the "picture of Galadriel at the Well in Lorien" which he wants to retain, saying that it "attracts me because it so very nearly corresponds to my own mental vision of the scene". Furthermore, he writes that this picture would be a good example to show to Rayner Unwin. The money Tolkien had enclosed in an earlier letter should not be seen as a payment for the picture; he suggests that the arrangement should be regarded as "a free gift on either side!" (apparently because of tax reasons). He finally added in a postscript that he would "of course allow the picture to be included in any collection or exhibition of your work, or used for reproduction in an illustrated edition, as long as the original is ultimately returned to me".
  • Publication: The Times Literary Supplement 14 September 2012.

See also


  1. Paul Tankard, "An unknown vision of Middle-earth", The TLS.co.uk (accessed 25 September 2012)