J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t only write about Middle-earth—he drew scenes from his fantastical world as well. His estate has recently made a slew of his paintings available for online viewing on their website, giving us additional detail into Tolkien’s imagination.
You can browse through the collection on the Tolkien Estate website. The collection is broken up into paintings, maps, and calligraphy, and has examples of Tolkien’s illustrative work across Middle-earth’s fictional landscape. Twelve of these works, according to the Estate, haven’t been available to the public before, including the author’s paintings of flowers and exotic birds, as well as a 1953 draft manuscript of The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son. But you may recognize some of these illustrations from various editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy that have cropped up over the years.
None of this collection has been publicly presented in such an accessible way, and you can see Tolkien’s illustrations based on his written works—The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion—as well as paintings he did for children and drawings inspired from real life, as well as other fantastical settings he created whole cloth.
Each image also comes with a description of what it entails and/or a backstory of Tolkien’s inspiration for the piece. Check them all out for yourself, at your leisure!