UNPUBLISHED artworks by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien are to go on show at the Bodleian Library.

They will be among the artefacts displayed as part of Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, at the Weston Library in Broad Street, from June 1 to October 28.

The exhibition will feature an unprecedented display of the author’s paintings, drawings and illustrations.

While Tolkien is best known worldwide for his literary genius, the artworks will highlight his lesser known but considerable talent as a visual artist.

The three unseen artworks going on display are:

  • Linquë Súrissë (1960s), a Japanese-style drawing with a title in Quenya, an Elvish language developed by Tolkien, which translates as ‘grass in the wind’
  • Parma Mittarion (1957), a design found on an old Merton College meeting agenda containing the Quenya phrase for ‘book of enterings’, and a page from a sketchbook containing two related abstract paintings titled Here (when you don’t want to go from here), and
  • There (in an exciting place) (1914), showing Tolkien was already developing his mythical artistry when he was an undergraduate at Exeter College.

Other artworks include original watercolours that Tolkien painted while writing drafts of The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, and the author’s own designs for his books’ dust-jackets.

Catherine McIlwaine, the Bodleian’s Tolkien Archivist and curator of the exhibition, said: “The vivid abstract paintings entitled Here and There show Tolkien as a young student at Oxford finding his own artistic voice.”

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