We are pleased to offer for sale, perhaps the most important original Tolkien related art piece. This is the original concept art the final of which was used on the first official paperback covers of The Lord of the Ring and The Hobbit. It includes a letter of authenticity from Betty Ballantine.
It's difficult to remember that the hardback first editions of J. Were remaindered in the 1950s. It was only the success of the American paperbacks on American college campuses in the 1960s that sparked the boom that still continues in Tolkien's work.(Remaindered means reduced in price to get rid of them). The importance of this article was the cult status Tolkien achieved was in America on sales of millions of paperbacks and not in his own country Britain. So much for the confidence of his publisher. It is simply not the case. In a letter to his son he was concern he would not have enough funds in his retirement and would have to grade papers to make ends meet. The first Tolkien Society was in New York, some five years before the British version. All this until the 1965 Ballantine Paperbacks with this now iconic artwork, the most recognized cover artwork among older fans. This art is truly deserving as a museum piece representing a key turning point in the history of Professor Tolkien fortunes and popularity. This is the original concept art submitted to Mrs Betty Ballantine which won Barbara Remington the commission to do the final cover art used on the 1965 Ballantine Books first paperbacks in America. There were minor changes noted in Bettys letter from this concept piece to the full color tryptic.
It comes with a personal letter of authentification from Betty Ballentine. The medium is gouache on card, glued on illustration board with the original Ballantine stock sticker on the reverse, art piece 11 x 11 inches in size plus frame and matt width. It comes with a personal COA letter from Betty Ballantine.
A letter of COA is crucial to value and authenticity. It also comes with two custom made frames, one for the art and one for the letter. Art frame has plexi-glass panel on the reverse so you can see the Ballantine stock sticker. It also includes a poster 2ft x 3ft poster- Come to Middle-earth which is the same artwork in colour as well as used on the cover of Fellowship of the Ring.These posters are now extremely rare. This iconic illustration also has a slightly infamous reputation as Tolkien did not like it initially, but this does not alter its importance to Tolkien lore as we know it today. In 1965 Ace Paperbacks in America released unauthorised editions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the first time in paperback. The rush was then on for Houghton Mifflin, Tolkiens US publisher, in collaboration with Ballantine books to release authorised paperbacks of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Edition 1966 hardbacks in the UK.
As was often the case, these revisions were quite delayed, forcing Ballantine Books to rush out a new editions and using Barbara Remington artwork before she had actually read the books! Thus some of the strange figures in the artwork are not in the book or anything to do with Tolkien. There was even a lion on the cover of the Hobbit PB until it was airbrushed out. During an interview with N Marion Hage and Andwerve, Barbara said.I worked for Ballantine, and as a practice, always read the books before doing the artwork. I didnt have this luxury with the Tolkien Books, something I wish I could have changed. Ballantine was in a hurry to get these books out right away. When they commissioned me to do the artwork, I didnt have the chance to see either book, though I tried to get a copy through my friends.
So I didnt know what they were about. I tried finding people that had read them, but the books were not readily available in the states, and so I had sketchy information at best. (As noted above, Barbara did make sketches relative to the books, afterwards, but she couldnt get the publishers to see the point, something which is very regretful).
Professor Tolkien was not impressed with the new Hobbit book cover. In a letter to Rayner Unwin, 12 September 1965, Tolkien wrote. I wrote expressing(with moderation) my dislike of the cover for the Ballantine edition of the Hobbit. I therefore will not enter into a debate about taste- (meaning though I did not say so: horrible colours and foul lettering) - but I must ask this about the vignette: what has it got to do with the story?
Why a Lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with the pink bulbs? He would go on in his letter to be less than complimentary as Mrs Ballantine would appear to have put her foot in it during the conversation forgetting she was speaking to the author. Later, it would seem they made up and became friendly thanks no doubt to the huge success of those editions.
Whether he truly disliked the art or not, his main objection was accurate; what did it have to do with the story and clearly whoever produced it hadnt read the story! However the colour finals became iconic with the first paperbacks whose sales were soon to reach over a million copies, then 3 million copies by 1969. Although Tolkiens own art appears on later editions of the Ballantine paperbacks, older fans will identify with the Remington covers as the first copies they read. Even today we find the Remington art the most recognisable of all the book covers despite Tolkiens original dislike.
There were numerous artists since. Professor Tolkien expertise did not extend to business matters given his serious delays to revisions.
Had Ballantine Books not acted hastily in getting the paperbacks to the American market quickly, Tolkiens popularity and influence might be very different today. The Lord of the Rings became an America campus cult. Middle-earth was sweeping America helped by the formation of the first Tolkien societies, long before British counterparts, as well as helped by the hippie movement who identified with the anti-industrial themes in the book. This cult status would eventually spread throughout the world. However, Tolkien himself had different feelings and referred to the rising popularity as my deplorable cultus.
When a reporter asked him about his favour with young Americans, he replied Art moves them and they dont know what they are moved by and they get quite drunk on it. Whatever moved them, sales worldwide would exceed 3 million copies by the end of 1968 thanks to the release of Ballantine paperback edition with Barbara Remingtons misinterpretation. This concept painting did in fact start it all off. At the time, Tolkiens works were still only beginning to achieve recognition in academic circles in America, but hardly at all in his Oxford circles.Despite the fact that we now view Tolkien works as masterpieces and perhaps contrary to how the British would like it to be remembered, it was popular American cult and availability in Ballantine paperback that made Tolkien to the timeless iconic status that his books and now films command today. Own a piece of history. Tolkien, A biography by Humphrey Carpenter 1977. Remington interview published in Andwerve. Tolkien Maker of Middle-earth, 2018. R Tolkien, Original Art, The Lord of the Rings, withCOA from Betty Ballantine" is in sale since Saturday, January 20, 2018. This item is in the category "Books, Comics & Magazines\Antiquarian & Collectable". The seller is "dogfark" and is located in Machynlleth. This item can be shipped worldwide.