Tolkien’s Map Of Middle Earth Acquired By Oxford
It is very likely that you have watched Lord of the Rings and have been quite familiar with Middle Earth. Does Middle Earth really exist or was it a product of Tolkien’s creative vision? An annotated map of Middle Earth was recently discovered from map illustrator Pauline Baynes’ copy of the Lord of the Rings novel. Baynes has reportedly moved the Middle Earth map from another edition of the novel and began her own color and added her own notes on the document. Tolkien himself has annotated the map with green ink and pencil.
The map of Middle Earth was purchased by Oxford Bodleian Libraries from Blackwell Booksellers for an estimated price of £60,000 to join a collection of Tolkien manuscripts and scholarships that were collected since 1979. Although there are plans to putting the map for public display, it is only currently available to Tolkien scholars who need to make a request for viewing.
The map is considered to be a very important document and the presence of Tolkien’s annotations has certainly increased the value of the Middle Earth map. In fact, at the Sotheby’s auction, a June 15 copy of the Hobbit that has been inscribed with 4 lines of Elvish was sold for £137,000 including buyer’s premium.
The Middle Earth map showed Tolkien’s obsession with details. Tolkien who was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University used Belgrade, Cyprus and Jerusalem as his reference point. According to Blackwell, the city of Ravenna served as an inspiration for Minas Truth, one of the key locations on the Third Book of Lord of the Rings.
The creation of the map was important to Tolkien’s storytelling and Bodleian was happy with the acquisition. It is only appropriate for the map to stay in Oxford where Tolkien spent most of his adult life. It would be disappointing for the map to be held in some private collection.
Illustrated Maps of significant places can found in private collections. In today’s generation where people are more familiar more digital maps, Illustrated Maps are the examples of artist’s creative visions and research abilities that give a different sense of direction.