Friday, October 5, 2018

Aubusson Tolkien

So, thanks to friend Denis (thanks Denis), I found out about what might be named the Tolkien Tapestry Project, whereby the weavers at Aubusson, one of the world's great tapestry makers (who have been in business at least since the early 1500s), have recreated perhaps Tolkien's most iconic painting in tapestry form. With a little poking about on the internet* I turned up film of the unveiling of BILBO COMES TO THE HUTS OF THE RAFT-ELVES (aka THE FOREST RIVER). The film runs about six minutes and is in French with English subtitles.

As a rarity the film features an appearance by  Baillie Tolkien, who has usually kept a low profile but here does a fine job representing the family.

There are also other handwoven Tolkien tapestries in the works: at the end they show a small piece of their next project, Glorund -- a curious choice (I wd have expected Smaug) but an interesting one. Only 7500 woman-hours of weave-work left to go!

Dare I hope that somewhere down the line we'll see the fulfillment of one of my dreams: large-scale recreation of some of Tolkien's art -- THE FOREST RIVER, LOTHLORIAN IN THE SPRING, HOBBITON, SMAUG -- in monumental stained glass? And if so, where wd they be mounted?

Here's the link;

--John R.
current reading: the Stonehenge book (now past the midway point)

*you can get the same result by going to google and typing in 'Aubusson' and 'Tolkien'


grodog said...

Which Stonehenge book, John?


Druss said...

The Glorund and Taniquetil tapestries were unveiled the day you wrote your post. You can see some photos :

The next one will be the 1926 letter from Father Christmas. And here are all the fourteen illustrations planned to be weaved at Aubusson :

John D. Rateliff said...

Dear Grodog

That wd be


by Michael Parker Pearson (2013). I found it hard to get into, but definitely rewarding once it gets going. It was worth the price of the book just to finally find out what the Aubrey Holes were for.

Recommended --especially if, like me, you did a science fair project that was a full mock-up of Stonehenge pointing out its astronomical alignments.*

DId I say going to the real Stonehenge was one of the best days of my life? Well, it was.

--John R.

*in those days Gerald Hawkins was one of my favorite authors,, along with Heyerdahl

Wurmbrand said...

I wish one could see good photos, at least, of a lot of the Tolkienian artwork from the "Days of the Craze" (1965-1969). It was produced long before not only the movies, but even the publication of book covers with detailed depictions of the major characters.

I was a youngster in Coos Bay, Oregon, when, unless my memory fools me, I saw an abstract work -- a painting, I think -- on display in the art room of the public library, called "The Lord of the Rings." It seems to have been a pattern of flame-shapes. I've written to the library, but they appear to have no record of this. This would have been no later than mid-1969.

There must have been a lot of other Tolkien-inspired art then. What did it look like? Who made it, and where did it end up?

There were fugitive but mass-produced artworks. Perhaps Rob Brown's poster qualifies as such:

But what about works of art that weren't printed as reproductions, but were exhibited, perhaps, in local galleries, cafes, schools, etc.? Much of it probably wasn't very good, but one wonders about unknown gems.

Dale Nelson