Lot 4027: ALS, one page both sides, 5.25 x 7, personal Oxford letterhead, September 4, 1968. Letter to Mary Fairburn, an artist who sent him paintings of several scenes from Lord of the Rings. In part: "I am sorry indeed for your anxiety, caused by my accident. I have had painful disability, and many other troubles to contend with. In my absence the removers behaved very badly and took advantage of my wife, who was not (and is not) in a fit state of health to cope with such affairs. My library and papers were piled up like flood-damage, and it is only at last this week been possible to disentangle the confusion and unpack the cases. I am happy to say that, in almost the last case examined, your three envelopes with pictures were found, quite unharmed. I am sorry that I can do no more about them at the moment. I am exhausted after the labour of what was supposed to be mainly a 'convalescence,' before proceeding to the next stage of treatment. I am now about to return to hospital in Oxford: I hope not for long. In any case Mr. Rayner Unwin is abroad at the moment. I make no comments at present; but I think I may say at least that if the prospect of an illustrated edition is not promising (I am afraid that that is the case), I like the pictures—certainly some of them—enough to make you a private offer of purchase. You could perhaps give me some idea of the price you would expect to receive. I give my actual address and telephone number; but I am anxious that knowledge of this should not be published abroad! One object of my move was to escape to a retirement where it would once again be possible to do some writing." In fine condition.
Tolkien's consideration of an illustrated edition of Lord of the Rings was a sharp departure from his long-held opposition to such a project. Just a year earlier he had reiterated his stance in a letter to his publisher, Rayner Unwin, writing, 'As far as an English edition goes, I myself am not at all anxious for The Lord of the Rings to be illustrated by anybody whether a genius or not.' However, Fairburn's paintings were so close to his vision that he did again begin discussions with his publisher about an illustrated edition. Although that never came to fruition, Tolkien seemingly made a private purchase of some of her work for his own collection—the ultimate compliment to a devoted fan and artist.
RR Auction's Mario Puzo Archive And Literary Rarities Auction 470
Thursday, 18th February 2016
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