Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

Weston Library, Oxford


Curated by the Bodleian Libraries’ Tolkien archivist Catherine McIlwaine, this exhibition examines the breadth of Tolkien’s literary imagination, from his creation of Middle-earth – the imagined world where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are set – to his life and work as an artist, poet, medievalist and scholar of languages. It will examine the scholarly, literary, creative and domestic worlds that influenced Tolkien as an author and artist.

With over 200 items, the exhibition ranges across the wide spectrum of Tolkien’s creative and scholarly output range from his early abstract paintings in The Book of Ishness to the tales he wrote for his children. Original manuscripts of his popular classics sit alongside lesser-known and posthumous works and materials, some of which will be on public display for the very first time. The objects on display reveal Tolkien’s creation of language, his childhood and student days, his career as a scholar of literature, and his family life as a husband and father.

Find out more about the Tolkien exhibition from the Bodleian’s website.

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Photo of JRR Tolkien aged 19,

Photo of JRR Tolkien, aged 19. © The Tolkien Trust 1977

Annotated map of Middle-earth

Annotated map of Middle-earth (c. 1969), JRR Tolkien. © Williams College Oxford Programme & The Tolkien Estate Ltd, 2018

Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft-elves

Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft-elves (c. 1937), J. R. R. Tolkien. © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937

The Fire Writing, JRR Tolkien. Credit: © The Tolkien Trust 2015

Roverandum illustration, JRR Tolkien. © Tolkien Trust 1992

Event website