Realms of Tolkien: Images of Middle-earth (HarperCollins 1997)

The title is slightly misleading, as only a few of the 58 artworks by new and familiar Tolkien illustrators in this book relate specifically to Tolkien’s realms; a variety of scenes, characters, and landscapes are depicted alongside the relevant quotations from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The History of Middle-earth.

The 20 artists represented here differ dramatically in style, some focusing on the sentimental, folkloristic aspects of Tolkien’s fiction (Eta Musciad, Carol Emery Phenix, Timothy Ide), some clearly more interested in its surreal, nightmarish quality (Cor Block, Lode Claes, Stephen Hickman). The book leaves you with an impression of Tolkien’s ability to inspire varying interpretations in his readers.

Realms of Tolkien also includes a one-page biography of Tolkien and brief but informative texts on (or by) each illustrator.