Tolkien wrote the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings whilst living and working in Oxford so this was the perfect setting for an exhibition.
The Bodleian Library, where Tolkien did a lot of his research, has a Tolkien archive (and even a specific Tolkien archivist) and the nearby Weston Library is where they store their special collections.
This exhibition was free, you just need to make sure you book online or see if you can book on the day for a specific time. We were there for almost a hour but you could spend longer! It was pretty busy and all in one room.
It gives you an insight into Tolkien’s life and the way Middle Earth, elvish, the Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings grew. It’s incredibly interesting from a historical and human interest point of view even if you aren’t that knowledgeable on LOTR or the Hobbit. Art lovers will
He loved Beowulf, translated it and taught it to his students and was a keen medievalist (which isn’t exactly surprising) and the influence of this on his stories (and his handwriting style) is significant.
You will find out more about:
- His relationship with his kids including some letters from Father Christmas
- Marrying his childhood sweetheart, Edith, after being forbidden from seeing her for three years while he was at university
- His difficult childhood, growing up in South Africa & becoming an orphan at 12 years old
- Tea Club and Barrovian Society, his little group at school
- The Inklings and his friendship with C.S Lewis
- Impact of WWI on Tolkien’s peers
- His beautiful paintings
- Original art for the jackets of the Hobbit and the three books of the Lord of The Rings
- Annotations on drafts and how the name changed
- Crosswords with his doodles surrounding them (all complete!)
- Fan mail to Tolkien and some of his replies
- Hobbiton is on the latitude of Oxford,
- Letters in Elvish
- Tolkien’s ideas growing through the years
- His watercolour paints
- Photos of Tolkien through the years
- Pages written in Tolkien’s tiny but distinctive handwriting
- Tiny diary with Inklings meetings pencilled in
- Maps of Middle Earth through the years
- Paintings of Oxfordshire which hung in his office and said to have inspire Hobbiton
More info about the exhibits here!
I bought some great postcards so look out for them in the mail Postcrossers!