Tolkien’s own artwork for Middle-Earth shows clearly that he was influenced by the British Arts and Crafts movement. This paper provides a review of Tolkien’s education and accomplishments in the visual arts; a comparison of Tolkien’s artwork and significant Arts and Crafts pieces; and a discussion of the overlap between Arts and Crafts philosophy and Tolkien’s treatment of creativity and craftsmanship in Middle-Earth, from the Silmarils to hithlain rope.
Note: The presentation on this topic given at Tolkien 2005, August 11 – 15, 2005, Birmingham, U.K., included many images. Selections of these, including Tolkien’s own art, are reproduced in this article. This reproduction is not intended to infringe any copyright.
You won't find this essay in the Tolkien 2005 conference proceedings, due to communication difficulties that took place when I moved house 6 months after the conference was held. I am currently discussing having this in another issue of Mallorn with the Tolkien Society, who were very apologetic about the snafu.