Landscapes lorn and lonely

I did not know this: Tove Jansson (moomin-creator) did illustrations for the 1962 Swedish edition of The Hobbit (courtesy Babel Hobbits, a repository for international Hobbit illustrations). They range from Quentin Blake-ishly sketched storm giants, to what is now my favorite rendering of the depths of Mirkwood. I don’t understand how Jansson always manages to combine qualities of both warmth and chill in her art.

Also, her Gollum is something else – towering over Bilbo, he looks unexpectedly like a wodwo or a Green Man, though I can’t think what his wreath might be made of. (Dried bats?)


Via the ever-loyal but outrageously busy Kakaner: carved book landscapes by Guy Laramee. Mute, contemplative, eerily lit. I’ve seen my fair share of altered-book art, but as Kakaner put it, “This gives me the shivers in a good and bad way. More bad though.” (But bad in a good way, I would add!)

– E

4 thoughts on “Landscapes lorn and lonely”

  1. I read that the first illustrators of the Hobbit mistakenly drew Gollum as huge, until Tolkien sent them straight. I presume Tove wasn’t one of the first illustrators, perhaps the memo didn’t reach Finland.

    Has Emera seen the second film yet?

    1. Tove Jansson was indeed Finnish, but also spoke Swedish (which is Finland’s other national language).

      mistakenly drew Gollum as huge
      What an interesting tidbit! I find it impossible to unhook my Gollum-impression from the first (hobbit-sized) illustration that I saw of him, not to mention all those that came thereafter, so I can’t put myself in the place of those early illustrators… There is something extra-unnerving about all of his malice and cunning coming in a hobbit-sized package, of course.

      I have not yet seen the second installment, no, though I look forward to it as it’s becoming a holiday tradition with my dad. Have you? Thoughts??

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