News & Opinion | March 31, 2019 10:26 am

New Morgan Library Show is a Love Letter to J.R.R. Tolkien

The exhibit features numerous manuscripts, photos, and illustrations from the fantasy author.

The original dust jacket for "The Hobbit," designed by the author, J.R.R. Tolkien (Photo: Flickr, Gwydion M. Williams)
The original dust jacket for "The Hobbit," designed by the author, J.R.R. Tolkien (Photo: Flickr, Gwydion M. Williams)

Fans of the fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien have a new (temporary) pilgrimage site to visit, as New York City’s Morgan Library has debuted its own loving tribute to the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

The biographical show, entitled “Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth,” tracks the chronology of Tolkien’s life and runs through May 12th. Initially compiled and organized by the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, the exhibit features a wealth of original manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, and other memorabilia from the author. Amongst the ephemera are fan letters from the likes of Iris Murdoch, Joni Mitchell, and C.S. Lewis.

“He was a fine artist” City Journal notes of Tolkien in its review of the show. After examining the author’s elaborate Christmas letters, his detailed illustrations and book cover designs for his debut novel The Hobbit, and his numerous maps of the fictional Middle Earth, the reviewer concludes: “His aesthetic is lovely—Art Nouveau easing into Art Deco—and austere and spooky.”