The Bodleian Libraries has acquired a recently-discovered map of Middle-earth annotated by JRR Tolkien, which reveals his remarkable vision of the creatures, topography and heraldry of his imagined world where The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.
The map was a working document that Tolkien and acclaimed illustrator Pauline Baynes both annotated in 1969 when Baynes was commissioned to produce a poster map of Middle-earth. At the time, The Lord of the Rings had never been illustrated so Tolkien, who was deeply concerned with the portrayal of his invented world, was keen to ensure that Middle-earth was accurately depicted. His copious notes and markings can be seen in green ink or pencil on the map, most notably his comments equating key places in Middle-earth with real world cities, for example that ‘Hobbiton is assumed to be approx. at [the] latitude of Oxford.’
The annotated map went unseen for decades until October 2015 when Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford put the map on display and offered it for sale. News of the map’s discovery caused a wave of excitement among fans, collectors and the media. The map had previously belonged to Baynes, who passed away in 2008. This rare piece of Tolkien ephemera now joins the Libraries’ Tolkien archive, the largest collection of original Tolkien manuscripts and drawings in the world. The map is an exciting new resource for Tolkien scholars, providing new linguistic and topographic details about the author’s fantasy world.
Bodliean Libraries (Oxford) Acquires Rare Map of Middle-Earth Annotated by Tolkien
Filed by May 3, 2016on