Saturday, 8 August 2015

A short rest...

On his homeward journey from the Quest of Erebor, Bilbo went down again into Rivendell, to the Last Homely House west of the mountains. As in a monastic community, he awoke at night to the sound of the merry folk singing by moonlight, singing this merry madrigal:

Sing all ye joyful, now sing all together!
The wind's in the tree-top, the wind's in the heather;
The stars are in blossom, the moon is in flower,
And bright are the windows of Night in her tower.

Dance all ye joyful, now dance all together!
Soft is the grass, and let foot be like feather!
The river is silver, the shadows are fleeting;
Merry is May-time, and merry our meeting.

Sing we now softly, and dreams let us weave him!
Wind him in slumber and there let us leave him!
The wanderer sleepeth. Now soft be his pillow!
Lullaby! Lullaby! Alder and Willow!

Sigh no more Pine, till the wind of the morn!
Fall Moon! Dark be the land!
Hush! Hush! Oak, Ash, and Thorn!
Hushed be all water, till dawn is at hand!

It puts me in mind of Morley's famous madrigal for the month of May, which can't be right for Morley's is a song to be sung by day, not night. But that's an example of the many nonsensical connexions my mind makes at times.

Art: Alan Lee, one of the three good Tolkien illustrators; the others being Ted Nasmith, who crops up quite regularly here, and John Howe. Does anyone know of any others? There are some very strange illustrations for The Silmarillion in the David Day "Tolkien encyclopaedia" by the artist Roger Garland but they seem rather surrealist for my taste. I did once read about an heroic chap who was rendering the text of The Silmarillion into Book-of-Hours-style illuminations, which I'd like to see published, but I can't think of the man's name. Any ideas?

In the meantime, here's Morley's seasonal madrigal, out of season:


  1. The illuminated Silmarillion by Benjamin Harff:

    Alan Lee and John Howe were rather closely involved with the Jackson disasters, which can leave a bit of a sour aftertaste. I generally like Nasmith and even Garland, the surrealism of the latter can work really well depending on the depicted scene.

    As for other artists, there's Queen Margrethe II who splendidly illustrated the Danish edition of the Lord of the Rings.

    A not entirely succesful (I objected to the random use of haloes) but nonetheless interesting set of illustrations: Googling for the artist's name leads to more artwork.

    The Tolkien Gateway lists quite a bit of artists, but I can't think of any others who are as prolific as the three you mentioned.

    1. Thank you, Tom. Where have you been?

      I had quite forgotten about Queen Margrethe of Denmark and her artwork but the same can be found in the 1992 Tolkien documentary narrated by Judi Dench. Queen Margrethe was also on the Danish translation committee so I am confident that that is a very good and faithful translation, albeit I know no Danish.

      I think of the three artists I mentioned my favourite is John Howe. Ted Nasmith has some fine pieces but some of his stuff is less good. My favourite Alan Lee illustrations are the ones in The Children of Hurin.

    2. I have been quite busy with papers and exams, but I have kept up with every blogpost. I particularly liked your post about your trip to the Ionian Islands.

  2. I rather like the Russian illustrations, which I hadn't seen before. My favourite is the death of Theoden, which is clearly Bayeux Tapestry inspired. The one depicting Gandalf and the Lord of the Nine Riders could have been taken from the leit-motif of the three living and the three dead.