A specialist at Blackwell’s Rare Books has found a loose map of Middle-earth featuring annotations by J.R.R. Tolkien inside a copy of The Lord of the Rings owned by the late Pauline Baynes.
The map has been known to exist since at least the time of Baynes’s death in 2008, but news of its “discovery” has spread across the web following the publication of an article in The Guardian on Friday (23 October).
Pauline Baynes was a renowned illustrator of books and worked with Tolkien on a number of occasions, illustrating (amongst others) Farmer Giles of Ham, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Smith of Wootton Major. In 1969 she produced A Map of Middle-earth (first published in 1970), a poster-map based on the map drawn by Christopher Tolkien and published in most copies of The Lord of the Rings.
The map annotated by both Tolkien and Baynes demonstrates the collaborative nature of the project, with Tolkien providing additional names and advice on topographical details (to give Baynes a rough idea of the climate and fauna and flora for certain locations). For example, Tolkien notes in the bottom-left section of the map that “Hobbiton is assumed to be approx. at the latitude of Oxford“.
He goes on,
Minas Tirith is about the latitude of Ravenna (that is 900 miles east of Hobbiton or near Belgrade). Bottom of the map (1450 miles) is about the latitude of Jerusalem. Umbar the city of Corsairs – about that of Cyprus.
The annotated map is currently on display in Oxford, together with a range of Baynes’s work, at Blackwell’s book shop, where it is on sale for £60,000.
Daniel is an Officer without Portfolio and Trustee of The Tolkien Society. Elected in 2014, he is mainly responsible for the Society’s digital operations, including this website.