Tolkien fans everywhere can buy into a legend by subscribing to the public appeal to finance a sculpture celebrating JRR Tolkien and his Birmingham roots. From October 1st, courtesy of EBay, fans can bid for a metal leaf with a personalised dedication.
The iconic and controversial 20 ft high "Ent" will be located on Birmingham's Tolkien Trail close to where the author lived in Moseley Village, and between his childhood home of Sarehole, later immortalised as "Hobbiton" and the Edgbaston of his youth. The Ent, a benign and friendly tree-like being, is depicted striding across a carpet of metal leaves towards Moseley Bog, the inspiration for the "Old Forest" in The Lord of the Rings.
The sculptor is Tim Tolkien, grandson of JRR Tolkien's younger brother, Hilary. Tim already has a track record in creating landmark public art like his spectacular 'Sentinel' sculpture on Spitfire Island in Castle Vale marking the area's association with the WWII fighter plane.
The giant statue will be fabricated in recycled stainless steel with bronze and copper coatings. The individually wrought leaves will be embedded into a paving of resin bonded, crushed green glass at the base of the Ent. Tim will engrave each unique leaf with wording of the sponsor's choosing.
There are a total of 400 silver coloured metal leaves, the first of which has been reserved by The Tolkien Society, and some others sold to local patrons. In addition there are 30 larger bronze leaves for corporate sponsors and private donors.
The Moseley Statue Group who finally obtained planning permission earlier this year envisaged an international dimension to the public appeal to raise the £80,000 needed to finance the sculpture. Tolkien is a worldwide phenomenon with readers, admirers and devotees in every corner of the globe.
For those familiar with the EBay worldwide marketplace, type 'Ent Leaves' into the search box, and you will be offered the opportunity to 'Buy it Now' on a strictly limited number of leaves. £500 will secure a leaf, but for risk takers, you can make an offer and see what happens.