Fraser--[Tolkien], Map of Middle Earth, [1981]

Lot Closed

July 9, 05:49 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 GBP

Lot Details



Map of Middle Earth

240 by 300mm., ink, watercolour and gouache drawing, signed “eric fraser” lower right, laid-down to card

Writing to Naomi Mitchison in 1954 Tolkien stated that, when writing The Lord of the Rings, “…I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit (generally with meticulous care for distances). The other way about lands one in confusions and impossibilities, and in any case it is weary work to compose a map from a story…” (see Letters, 1981, p. 177).

As stated by Catherine McIlwaine in Tolkien – Maker of Middle-Earth, “maps were an essential part of Tolkien’s world-building”. The Hobbit would be published with two maps and the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings each contained a folded map (with an additional map printed within the text for The Fellowship of the Ring). There are thirty maps in the Bodleian’s Tolkien papers relating to The Lord of the Rings alone.

The present map was drawn by Eric Fraser in connection with the legendary 1981 BBC Radio adaptation, it appears, however to be entirely unpublished. Fraser seems to have had some problems with the Misty Mountains. Three layers of paper have been added and the final version reads “Hithaiglin”. This matches Tolkien’s original spelling although it provides an incorrect rendering of the accurate spelling “Hithaeglir”.

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