285

Details & Cataloguing

English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations Including Eric Gill – The Felix Dennis Collection

|
London

[Tolkien, J.R.R.]--Blanche, John
"BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES"
330 by 498mm., fine ink, watercolour and gouache drawing, signed lower right, mounted, framed and glazed
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Catalogue Note

John Blanche’s depiction of the battle at the conclusion of The Hobbit was published, as a double-page illustration, on pages 168-169 of David Day’s A Tolkien Bestiary (first published by Mitchell Beazley in 1979). It was also reproduced within John Blanche and Ian Miller’s volume entitled Ratspike (GW Books, 1989). THIS ILLUSTRATION IS THOUGHT TO COMPRISE THE FIRST DEPICTION OF THE CENTRAL BATTLE IN TOLKIEN'S TALE.

The five armies comprise the dwarves of Thorin Oakenshield, the men from Lake Town, the elves of Mirkwood, the dwarves from the Iron Hill, and the Orcs from the Misty Mountains. The battle turns when the Eagles of the North (depicted by Blanche in the top left hand portion of the drawing) enter the fight.

The third and final instalment of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit will be released in December 2014 with the sub-title "The Battle of the Five Armies". This title was chosen in preference to a previous decision to call the film by Tolkien’s own sub-title for the book, "There and Back Again".

John Blanche, the fantasy and science fiction illustrator, is also known for his extensive work for Games Workshop. In this capacity, for example, he produced the cover for the first British edition of Dungeons and Dragons and artwork for the first issue of the Warhammer Fantasy Battle game. Writing of Blanche’s artwork in Ratspike, Patrick Woodroffe noted "a brand-new genre, a genre with new criteria, indeed with totally different aspirations… This is very modern stuff. Different. Hard to assess." The artist himself described his early technique: "…I’d also discovered the technical drawing pen and teamed its use with my normal water-colour painting techniques. Minute detail was possible with the pen, and washes of colour gave the painting life and form" (see Ratspike).

English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations Including Eric Gill – The Felix Dennis Collection

|
London