4 Mar 2010

There and Back Again - The Hobbit at the Bodleian

As promised this morning, here I am with a small report on my day-trip to Oxford to view Professor Tolkien original art work which was used to illustrate The Hobbit and some very rare Tolkien's doodles. This was a one-day only chance to get very close to Professor Tolkien and it was personally an amazing experience. Oxford does speak 'Hobbitish' , its a magical place where time seem to stop - its a place of culture and learning where modern meets ancient in an incredible mix, and its easy to understand why Tolkien loved the place so much. At arrival at the Bodleian Library I joined a very orderly (but already long) queue and waited patiently my turn. It took me almost an hour to reach the 2 glass cabinets but I would waited even longer if I had too. I've seen countless prints and pictures of Tolkien's art over the years but never an original....let me tell you...it blew me away for the colours, the details, the skill, the magic its all there. I was <--> this close to Tolkien himself - his handwriting, his paint strokes, the pencil marks, the little corrections he made - his favourite watercolour "Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft-elves" where curiously he painted a very strange Bilbo wearing boots...we all know Hobbits do not wear shoes...or do they? On exhibit were 3 of the most famous Tolkien water colours which also included "The Hill - Hobbiton-across-the-Water" and "Conversation with Smaug" , some very rare doodles the professor wrote on the back of a torn sheet of a minute from and English Faculty Meeting in October 1939, the magnificent original of The Hobbit dust-jacket for the Allen & Unwin copy of the book, and finally the first British Edition of The Hobbit . One thing that did strike me was the difference of the colours from the pictures and prints I'd seen - Tolkien's original colours are so beautiful and alive. Taking pictures of the exhibits was of course not allowed, nevertheless I took several photographs of Oxford to record this fantastic day.

The Bodleian Arch

Lucky to be here

A queue for a Hobbit

Still in the queue...

Almost There....

(more pictures can be found on Once Upon A Hobbit on Flickr)