Lord of the Rings


Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Illustrator: Ingahild Grathmer

TOLKIEN, J[ohn] R[onald] R[euel]. The Lord of the Rings. Illustrations by Ingahild Grathmer. Drawn by Eric Fraser. London: The Folio Society, 1977. 8vos: 460pp, 373pp, & 488pp. Pale gray quarter-basil leather stamped in gold with gray cloth decoratively stamped in gold, all housed in a slipcase. Map endpapers; b&w frontispieces and illustrated chapter headings in each volume. A near fine set with spines a tad soiled and volume three bearing a tiny scratch at the front external hinge, housed in original cardboard slipcase (lightest edge wear, a bit rubbed at opening).

First illustrated edition. Throughout his life, J.R.R. Tolkien strongly objected to the creation of illustrated versions of The Lord of the Rings. He wanted his readers free to imagine his characters as they wished. When Tolkien was approached by The Folio Society to produce an illustrated edition of the book and learned of the author’s objections, they asked if he had ever seen any illustrations that he would approve of to accompany his novels. He replied that he had a former student whose artwork he greatly enjoyed, and that he would accept her drawings as they were more conceptual and featured none of his beloved characters. The only problem was, this particular student was Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. The Queen agreed to have her work used (they were redrawn in ink from her pencil work by British artist Eric Fraser) as long as it was published pseudonymously and her compensation went to charity. Of course, despite all attempts to conceal it, the truth was published in The Times of London on the day of publication! The only illustrated edition of The Lord of the Rings ever authorized and approved by the author.