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A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to accompany The Lord of the Rings by Cor Blok
HarperCollins Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780007437986
Date: 01 September 2011 List Price £20.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK /

Now this is a curious and beautiful thing. Released by Harpercollins, A Tolkien Tapestry is a beautifully produced, full colour hard cover cataloguing the work of Dutch artist Cor Block, who over many decades produced paintings and illustrations depicting Tolkien's masterpiece The Lord of The Rings in a truly unique style.

These artworks drew the attention of the author himself and this release reproduces some of the correspondence between the two men. The drawings are odd to say the least - certainly give that the Peter Jackson films are now so indelibly stamped upon our minds - but they have a great charm of their own and this is certainly a body of work that will be of great interest to both LOTR and art enthusiasts alike. Recommended.

"This brand new full-colour art book reveals in sumptuous detail more than 100 paintings based on The Lord of the Rings by acclaimed Dutch artist, Cor Blok, many of which appear here for the first time.

Fifty years ago, shortly after The Lord of the Rings was first published, Cor Blok read the work and was completely captivated by its invention and epic storytelling. The breadth of imagination and powerful imagery inspired the young Dutch artist, and this spark of enthusiasm, coupled with his desire to create art that resembled a historical artefact in its own right, led to the creation of more than 100 paintings.

Following an exhibition at the Hague in 1961, JRR Tolkien’s publisher, Rayner Unwin, sent him five pictures. Tolkien was so taken with them that he met and corresponded with the artist and even bought some paintings for himself.

The series bears comparison with the Bayeux Tapestry, in which each tells an epic and complex story in deceptively simple style, but beneath this simplicity lies a compelling and powerful language of form that becomes more effective as the sequence of paintings unfolds.

The full-colour paintings in this new book are presented in story order so that the reader can enjoy them as the artist intended. They are accompanied by extracts from The Lord of the Rings and the artist also provides an extensive introduction illuminating the creation of the series and notes to accompany some of the major compositions. Many of the paintings appear for the very first time.

Readers will find Cor Blok's work refreshing, provocative, charming and wholly memorable – the bold and expressive style that he created stands as a unique achievement in the history of fantasy illustration. Rarely has an artist captured the essence of a writer's work in such singular fashion; the author found much to admire in Cor Blok’s work, and what higher accolade is there?"

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