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New edition of The Hobbit with 50 pieces of artwork due out in September

HarperCollins have announced a new edition of The Hobbit, illustrated with “a greatly enhanced” gallery of 50 paintings, maps and drawings – due out on 14 September

The Hobbit was first published on 21 September 1937 and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, as well as being the basis for numerous adaptations including Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. For the first time ever this new enhanced edition includes a full gallery of associated artwork, and is published in the same format as recent editions of The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

Although these pieces of artwork – 36 in colour, 20 in black and white – have been published before, many have never been published with the book before.

Speaking about this, Chris Smith from HarperCollins said: “The tale of the little hobbit on a big adventure was first read by the professor to his children as part of their winter reads, using his ‘home manuscript’ of the story. Imagine hearing the tale told to you by its author, spun from golden yarn as he wove the adventure for you, thread by thread? Christopher Tolkien recalls that special time in his foreword included in this new illustrated edition of The Hobbit, and leading Tolkien scholars Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull add that, in this ‘home manuscript’, Tolkien would have been free to illustrate his story using any medium he wanted: coloured pencil, chalk, crayon, ink and washes, a far cry from the restrictions imposed by the publisher on the illustrations printed in the published book.

From the publisher

For the first time ever, a special enhanced edition of the enchanting prelude to The Lord of the Rings, illustrated throughout with over 50 sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien himself and with the complete text printed in two colours.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit was published on 21 September 1937. With a beautiful cover design, a handful of black & white drawings and two maps by the author himself, the book became an instant success and was reprinted shortly afterwards with five colour plates.

Tolkien’s own selection of finished paintings and drawings have become inseparable from his text, adorning editions of The Hobbit for more than 85 years. But the published art has afforded only a glimpse of Tolkien’s creative process, and many additional sketches, coloured drawings and maps – although exhibited and published elsewhere – have never appeared within the pages of The Hobbit.In this unique enhanced edition of Tolkien’s enchanting classic tale, the full panoply of his art is reproduced for the first time, presenting a grand total of 50 illustrations to accompany Bilbo Baggins on his adventure ‘there and back again’.

About the Author: The Tolkien Society
The Tolkien Society is an educational charity and worldwide membership organisation devoted to promoting research into, and educating the public in, the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The Society organises regular events (such as Oxonmoot and Tolkien Reading Day), publishes regular books and journal (such as Amon Hen and Mallorn), and is working towards a permanent home to Tolkien in the UK.