May 2016 | Nate Pedersen

Bodleian Purchases Annotated Tolkien Map

blackwells tolkien map2.jpgA map of Middle Earth annotated by J. R. R. Tolkien has been acquired by the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, where it will join the largest collection of Tolkien material in the world.

Last fall, we reported on a surprise discovery of an annotated map of Middle Earth that Tolkien created in preparation for a 1970 edition of The Lord of the Rings. That map, found tucked away in a copy of the novel owned by illustrator Pauline Bayes (who created the now iconic map for the same 1970 Allen & Unwin edition), was discoverd by Blackwell's in Oxford.  The bookshop priced the map at £60,000.

The Bodleian purchased the map with friends of the library funds as well as grants from the V&A Purchase Fund.

"This particular map provides a glimpse into the creative process that produced some of the first images of Middle-earth, with which so many of us are now familiar. We're delighted to have been able to acquire this map and it's particularly appropriate that we are keeping it in Oxford," said Chris Fletcher, keeper of special collections at the Bodleian in an interview with The Guardian.

"Tolkien spent almost the whole of his adult life in the city and was clearly thinking about its geographical significance as he composed elements of the map. It would have been disappointing had it disappeared into a private collection or gone abroad."