This brand new full-colour art book reveals in sumptuous detail more than 100 paintings based on The Lord of the Rings by acclaimed Dutch artist, Cor Blok, many of which appear here for the first time. Fifty years ago, shortly after The Lord of the Rings was first published, Cor Blok read the work and was completely captivated by its invention and epic storytelling. The breadth of imagination and powerful imagery inspired the young Dutch artist, and this spark of enthusiasm, coupled with his desire to create art that resembled a historical artefact in its own right, led to the creation of more than 100 paintings. Following an exhibition at the Hague in 1961, JRR Tolkien's publisher, Rayner Unwin, sent him five pictures. Tolkien was so taken with them that he met and corresponded with the artist and even bought some paintings for himself. The series bears comparison with the Bayeux Tapestry, in which each tells an epic and complex story in deceptively simple style, but beneath this simplicity lies a compelling and powerful language of form that becomes more effective as the sequence of paintings unfolds. The full-colour paintings in this new book are presented in story order so that the reader can enjoy them as the artist intended. They are accompanied by extracts from The Lord of the Rings and the artist also provides an extensive introduction illuminating the creation of the series and notes to accompany some of the major compositions. Many of the paintings appear for the very first time. Readers will find Cor Blok's work refreshing, provocative, charming and wholly memorable -- the bold and expressive style that he created stands as a unique achievement in the history of fantasy illustration. Rarely has an artist captured the essence of a writer's work in such singular fashion; the author found much to admire in Cor Blok's work, and what higher accolade is there?
Cor Blok was born in The Hague in 1934, and attended the Academy of Fine Arts. After graduating in 1956, he worked at the Gemeentemuseum until 1965, where, among other roles, he compiled a catalogue of the museum's large collection of works by Piet Mondrian. During this time he also painted about 140 pictures inspired by The Lord of the Rings, a selection of which was exhibited at The Hague. When a sample of his paintings was sent to JRR Tolkien this led to a correspondence and eventual meeting with the author, who bought two paintings and was presented with a third. Cor Blok lives in Amsterdam, where he is currently at work on a graphic novel.