Letter to Pauline Baynes (4 June 1949)

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On 4 June 1949, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to Pauline Baynes. It was written following the completion of Tolkien's manuscript of The Lord of the Rings.[1]


Merton College, Oxford

4 June 1949

Dear Miss Baynes,

I ought to have written to you before to tell you of the great pleasure that your drawings in illustration of “Farmer Giles” have given me. My friends, very justly, said after seeing them that they had reduced the text to a commentary on the pictures.

I have now seen and returned the ‘paste-up’; and though I am glad that so many of the illustrations have been preserved, at least in the sense that they are represented, I am distressed. Ignorant as I am of the costs and of production-processes, I had hoped for a larger page and space. I fear it has done small justice to your beautiful line and pattern to reduce the size so drastically.

Even so, what little value this rather slender ‘squib’ has is much enhanced by your work.

I am hoping soon to get some larger works published, and in a more ample fashion; and if so, I hope you might be interested, or at least have time to consider them. One, a long romance in sequel to The Hobbit, is finished after some years of work, and is being typed. It is held up at the moment, since I am immersed in examinations and other weary business; but when it's done, I wonder if I could prevail on you to glance at it.

I hope that we may perhaps [have the?] opportunity of meeting ere [?]

Yours sincerely,

J.R.R. Tolkien

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