The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-23-2010, 03:48 PM   #1
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 893
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye Did Lobelia wear a Ruff?

Hi all,

I was reading through 'The Adventures of Tom Bombadil' the other day and wondered about Pauline Baynes' illustrations.

While they are undoubtedly charming, how canonical (not 100% obviously) should they be taken as? Do any letters survive where JRRT discusses the illustrations? What can this tell us, if anything, about costume and appearance in Middle Earth?

A quick zip through a few (page nos. from Unwin paperback) -

p96 - Farmer Maggot's family and Tom - looks high medieval in dress style, Tom, wearing a more modern coat, looks to be the same size as the family - therefore of hobbit stature?

p110 and p115 - The innkeepers in both the 'Man in the Moon' poems again look high medieval

p118 - The troll is of human appearance, but much bigger than Tom

p120-123 - Perry the Winkle - the dress of the hobbits is very early Jacobean/ late Elizabethan. Old Mrs Bunce wears a long dress with a ruff. The townspeople wear 'cavalier style' floppy hats but the cut of their clothes looks earlier 17th century to me (Guy Fawkes-esque). The mayor seems to have dropped his cocked hat - more 18th century.

p128 - Fastitocalon- The bottom halves of the people (hobbits? men?) suggest Elizabethan fashions, big elaborate skirts for the ladies, puffy breeches for the gents.

p134 - The Hoard - the knght is very much high medieval - full plate and an emblazoned surcoat. Is the story somehow based on Turin's?

Plus lots of nice pics of kettles, teapots, an umbrella, pints of beer and cakes!

What do you reckon?
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion

Last edited by Rumil; 08-23-2010 at 03:50 PM. Reason: typo
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2010, 06:10 AM   #2
Mithalwen
Pilgrim Soul
 
Mithalwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: watching the wonga-wonga birds circle...
Posts: 9,903
Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
RE : Farmer Giles of Ham, "I am pleased with them beyond even the expectations aroused by the first examples. They are more than illustrations, they are a collateral theme. I showed them to my friends whose polite comment was that they reduced my text to a commentary on the drawings." (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien no. 120)

Baynes was Tolkien's illustrator of choice and a remarkable woman. the Farmer Giles ones may not fit in to how we as individuals imagine ME (and how much of that is coloured by other artists or the films?) but he was clearly happy with her work as at least AN interpretation even if not exactly as he saw his creations. Since he was a more than competent amateur artist himself it was likely that he would have stronger feelings about the illustrations than someone more disinterested in the medium.
__________________
“But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar.”

Christopher Tolkien, Requiescat in pace
Mithalwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2010, 07:27 AM   #3
Galin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,010
Galin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Galin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
I don't think the illustrations for The Adventures of Tom bombadil need be thought of as necessarily author-approved in detail, even if Tolkien liked them in general. Although Tolkien generally praised the work of Pauline Baynes (and rightly so in my opinion), he is also noted as disliking elements of her depictions relating to the poster map of Middle-earth, and wrote some of his thoughts down in reaction to this artwork.

Only parts of his written commentary have been published to date, but in any case I think Tolkien was too much of a gentleman to have ever wanted Pauline Baynes to know of this commentary. And as the artist was still alive when some of this commentary was published, neither Hammond and Scull for example, nor Christopher Tolkien, chose to describe the context of Tolkien's critique.


By the way, Legolas' hair colour and the shape of Elvish ears does not appear to be included in the unpublished portions, according to Hammond and Scull -- who recently confirmed my guess that they would have published these details, if so. Not that surprising, since in the depiction in question Legolas is hooded in any event.


Also, I too think Pauline Baynes is a great artist, but I have wondered myself lately about the Hobbit's feet in her depiction for this map (not the one made for The Hobbit). My large copy (the poster itself) was accidentally ruined by water long ago now -- but in the copies I do own, it seems that maybe the bottoms have the hair?

Or no? Anyone have the large poster map these days? Ach! that mine did not survive the 1970s!
Galin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2010, 02:11 PM   #4
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 893
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

Hi Mith and Galin,

you put your fingers on the vague memory I had that Tolkien had approved the 'Adventures' after Pauline Baynes had drawn them.

I wonder if Tolkien was presented with a fait accompli, loved the style of the drawings, but was too much of a gent to complain about inconsistencies between the images and his preconceived ideas of the appearance of the characters.

On the other hand, it would be fascinating to know if Pauline B had asked JRRT for some guidance before drawing the pictures. Alternatively, to know what JRRT thought was 'not quite right'. This would get us to the detail!

Ah, the poster Galin, haven't seen that in a long long time, iirc one was blu-tacked onto the wall of our English classroom long long ago!
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2010, 03:28 PM   #5
Galin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,010
Galin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Galin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Yes, I always wondered if P.B. has asked JRRT about the characters a bit, but all I'm aware of today is that Tolkien added details concerning the map itself, which is why her poster-map includes some things not published in any editions of The Lord of the Rings (not published in any earlier editions I mean).

John Rateliff quoted some of JRRT's commentary however (and Douglas Anderson appears to have paraphrased a section). Quoted examples include: Mr. Baggins page 49 (concerns Gandalf), page 186-187 (concerns Gollum) -- I'm not sure if there's more here as I haven't read both volumes of The History of the Hobbit yet, from cover to cover at least.

Hammond and Scull quote selections from these notes in their The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion (2005), on pp. 3-4, 107, 229, 244-5, 265, 272, 447, and 493. Christopher Tolkien had earlier published a part in Unfinished Tales (1980), pp. 286-7, and I found out that the note concerning Celeborn on p. 286 is from some other source.

The whole of the notes would be interesting anyway!
Galin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2010, 04:05 PM   #6
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 893
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

Cheers for searching Galin,

I guess we will have to wait for CT to see if there is any really useful info
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2010, 05:10 AM   #7
Mithalwen
Pilgrim Soul
 
Mithalwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: watching the wonga-wonga birds circle...
Posts: 9,903
Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
I made and somehow lost a long post on this last night when I had got my copy of the letters and while Galin is correct that Baynes's work didn't universally get Tolkien's approval it is clear from the published letters that he did go into some detail with her such as the feather in Bombadil's cap. His letter offering the poems to Unwin express the wish and hope that PB will illustrate.
I don't have time to type out all quotes (again) but in his letters to her it is clear that he recognises the difficulty in the task and that she is making an interpretation - noone could perfectly illustrate the contents of another's mind after all. And in letter 211 to Rhona Beare he says "I do not know the detail of clothing. I visualise with great clarity scenery and "natural" objects, but not artefacts .." and then comments on PB's illustrations and gives other details which explain his own ideas as far as they went.
In his letter 260 to a composer he hopes that the result might be "akin to my own inspiration - as much as are, say, some (but not all) of Pauline Baynes' illustratrions".

Obviously I do not have the privileged access of Hammond and Scull but my guess is that Baynes was sufficiently in harmony for Bombadil where as representations of his creation they are "as pictures in a tapestry of antiquity" but when it came to representing the characters of the main published work he demanded more. The difference between portraying a "historical" character rather than a legendary one - if that makes any sense. Anyway the letter to Rhona Bear is particularly relevant to costume to get back to the original question.
__________________
“But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar.”

Christopher Tolkien, Requiescat in pace
Mithalwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2010, 06:11 AM   #8
Galin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,010
Galin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Galin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
With respect to specific details, all I can find so far (in Tolkien's letters) is the confusion concerning the feather, as noted already. Tom's 'peacock feather' belonged to an old draft, and the typescript given to P. B. had this, while the artist knew that the version in the galley-proofs had 'swan-wing' feather. Tolkien explained in part:

'As far as you are concerned peacocks are out. A swan-feather in the first poem; and a blue one after the kingfisher incident.'

Tolkien also noted that only the galleys are reliable, and: 'For instance, in the altercation with the kingfisher, I found that no variety likely to be in our parts of the world has a scarlet crest. (Scarlet breasts are more likely though ones I know are pinkish.)'

So this is in reaction to a question Pauline Baynes had about the poem, due to somewhat different versions existing.
Galin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:07 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.