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A Visual History Of Bilbo Baggins

Shall we go there and back again? Thanks to the soon-to-be-released Hobbit movie, images of Martin Freeman as Bilbo may dominate our consciousness. But Bilbo has had many different incarnations! Let's take a look at them.

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1967: Maurice Sendak's unpublished drawings


In 1967, J. R. R. Tolkien was considering having Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) illustrate The Hobbit. Sendak drew two sample images, one of which is pictured above. Sadly, an editor mislabeled an image of wood elves as hobbits, which Tolkien interpreted as evidence of Sendak not taking the project seriously, so the collaboration never came to fruition.

1973: Tove Jansson's cover for the Finnish edition of The Hobbit / Via

OK, OK, Bilbo is actually kind of a tiny speck on the cover and the interior illustrations were recycled from the earlier Swedish edition, but I would be doing you a great wrong by not showing you this magnificent illustration.


1995: Alan Lee's The Hobbit illustrations / Via

A new illustrated edition of The Hobbit was issued in 1995, with beautiful paintings by Alan Lee, who would later become one of the lead concept artists for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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