1976 Tolkien Calendar - Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin. 1976. The Hobbit Calendar. The top is spiral bound with a small cut-out and loop for hanging. The artwork is Tolkien's. However, a number of the original black and white drawings were colored by H. E. Riddett. Now that many of the original drawings are available for comparison, this calendar has the look and feel of a colorized black and white movie. The colored version of "The Mountain-path" is better than the original. Indeed, it was later used for the cover of the HM edition of The Silmarillion. However, there was no good reason to colorize "Beorn's Hall" , "The Trolls, "The Misty Mountains Looking West from the Eyrie towards Goblin Gate" and "The Elvenking's Gate". The colorization was poor and they contrast sharply in quality with Tolkien's other colored images in the calendar. Since Tolkien was not a professional illustrator, I find it hard to believe that a professional illustrator like H. E. Riddett would do a worse job of applying color to these illustrations than Tolkien. In particular, "The Elvenking's Gate" looks like someone plastered green and brown mud to the trees. Contrast this image with Tolkien's similar treatment of the trees in "Taur-na-Fuin (Fangorn Forest)". Tolkien's original pen-and-ink drawing of "The Elvenking's Gate" is one of the best illustrations in this medium that I have ever seen. The trees appears as giant marble columns, enhancing the majesty of the palace of the Elves. The colorizing obliterates this effect. Obviously the designer was asleep on this one. This calendar would have been great if the designer had simply included the black-and-white and colored illustrations as Tolkien originally made them. At least someone should have compared the esthetic quality of Tolkien's original drawings to the crayon-like colorizing of H. E. Riddett. Some of the images work and some do not. There is no compelling need to publish the ones that do not.
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