Section 4. Middle Earth and Narnia


1. Map of Middle Earth
Barbara Remington, 1969

A Map of Middle Earth by Barbara Remington was first published as a poster, and features her original artwork and illustrations from an American-released version of the J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings by Ballantine Books in 1969. Remington describes not having read the books before she illustrated them because of the pressure to provide content to books and artwork not easily available in the United States. She also notes that Tolkien was critical of her book designs, and had the publisher rework parts he did not like. The promotional poster was, however, popular with readers, and has become highly collectible in the ensuing years.

Remington’s poster map is also based on Christopher Tolkien’s fold-out drawing from 1954 and, like the Pauline Baynes maps featured on this wall, includes only the areas of Middle Earth referenced in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

2. A Map of Middle Earth
Pauline Baynes and J.R.R. Tolkien, 1970

Pauline Baynes’ Map of Middle Earth, created in 1969, was published in 1970 by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. It is based on a Christopher Tolkien fold-out map from 1954. J.R.R. Tolkien is said to have translated the place names from the fold-out map’s created language “Elvish” for the artist’s annotations in this work. Tolkien himself chose Baynes to illustrate not only this map but other Middle Earth themed projects. Baynes was also chosen by C.S Lewis to illustrate projects in the Narnia Series (as you can see in the accompanying map to the left).

This map depicts the particular areas described in Tolkein’s novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and significant scenes from The Lord of the Rings are illustrated in circular insets on the map. The map is bordered on the top by the ring bearing characters in The Lord of the Rings and on the bottom by those character’s adversaries. Lighter colored ships are Elven vessels while the darker ships were either from Gondor or other areas. According to Tolkien, the map represents an area of about 1400 miles long from The Shire, what Tolkien believed to be the latitude of Oxford, England, and the bottom of the map, which Tolkien believed to be about the latitude of Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem.

3. There and Back Again: A Map of Bilbo’s Journey Through Eriador and Rhovanion
Pauline Baynes and J.R.R. Tolkien, 1971
Courtesy of the Collection of Stephen Hornsby

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s map of Middle-Earth, artist Pauline Baynes created this poster map of Bilbo’s journey in The Hobbit (1937) for English publisher Allen & Unwin. The map shows Bilbo’s route from Hobbiton in the Shire to Smaug’s lair in the Lonely Mountain. Bayne contrasts the gentle, homely downlands of the Shire with the fearsome peaks of the Misty Mountains and spider infested forests of Mirkwood. Various scenes from the story are shown in the margins of the map. As you can see in the exhibition, Baynes illustrated several works by Tolkien, as well as those by his Oxford colleague, C.S. Lewis, including the Narnia poster map in this exhibition.

4. Map of Middle Earth
Jon Zarr Haber, 1969
Courtesy of the Collection of Stephen Hornsby

When Ballantine Books published The Lord of the Rings trilogy in paperback in the United States in 1965, J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world quickly gained a cult following among West Coast hippies and readers more generally. Graphic artists seized the opportunity to make their own versions of Tolkien’s famous map of Middle-Earth. Jon Zarr Haber produced this black light poster at the height of the counterculture movement. He squeezed Tolkien’s map to fit the dimensions of the poster, creating a distorted Middle-Earth. Bilbo’s Shire is difficult to find within the confines of Eriador. But, like the one ring’s inscription, the map glows if viewed in the proper lighting and situation.

5. Map of Narnia and the Surrounding Countries
Pauline Baynes, 1972

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963) taught English literature at Oxford University, where he was a member of the Inklings, alongside J. R. R. Tolkien. Having fallen away from Christianity as a youth, he returned to the Anglican church in his 30s and he used a variety of fantastical stories to proselytize his faith. He is especially remembered today for his series of seven books set in Narnia, beginning with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950), with the consistent theme of innocence triumphing over evil. The first editions of the Narnia chronicles were all illustrated by Pauline Baynes (1922–2008), who created this map as a poster in 1972.

Next Section: 5. The Imagined Worlds of Comics, Graphic Novels, Video Games, Film and Television