Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

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Inanna
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Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Inanna »

A nice surprise in my morning perusal of WSJ, review of an exhibition in Oxford, which will travel to NY in Jan 2019 (moot?):

https://www.wsj.com/articles/tolkien-ma ... 1532978151
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Primula Baggins »

When you have time, could you summarize it (or link to someone else’s)? WSJ is subscriber-only.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Inanna »

Here is the same news from other sources. It sounds fascinating.

https://www.tolkiensociety.org/events/e ... dle-earth/

This is more in-depth:
https://winteriscoming.net/2018/06/05/t ... libraries/

The WSJ article described how the shown map is taped around edges with other sheets as it kept expanding.
The one in NY will also have interactive displays for kids to explore Tolkien. :D :D
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Inanna »

So, the exhibition has some cool talks and events along with it. By the time I realized this, *all* the events were sold out. Except the one about “painting a fantasy landscape series”. I got the last ticket! (And therefore, ditched my friend who is not a SERIOUS Tolkien fan. ;)).

And I plan to go see it during my birthday-week, next week. If not on the day. It’s just 10 blocks up from my office. :D
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Woohoo! I'm so glad you are going to see it, Inanna!
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Jude »

Also, happy be-earlied birthday!
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:Woohoo! I'm so glad you are going to see it, Inanna!
Multiple times!

1. First time alone. To absorb
2. the fantasy painting “class”
3. with my friend (the non-serious fan), on a day when the curator is giving a short tour of the Place
4. And if the interactive exhibit is interesting, with Irika.
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Alatar »

What a pity its gone when I'm there :(
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The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

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Keep a watch - these things sometimes get extended.
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Awesome, Inanna! By all accounts, there is way more than can be absorbed in one visit.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a text from my mom saying that she was at the exhibit. Apparently, she and some friends went to the Morgan just for something to do, not knowing what exhibit was there. She is not a big Tolkien fan but she still loved it, which bodes well for your friend.
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Inanna »

Cool. When are you coming here to see it?
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

If I make it, it will be at the very end, but it is looking doubtful. :(
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by kzer_za »

I haven't ruled out the possibility of going in April or May, but will have to wait and see.
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Eldy »

I'm hoping to make it up to NYC to see this in perhaps a month's time (if I manage to get on the ball and actually make arrangements for it). I found an incredible deal on Airbnb when I was in Midtown Manhattan for the New York Tolkien Conference in 2016, so if I can find something similar again that would make this pretty easy to justify even though I've got two major money sinks anime cons on my schedule this year. :D
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by RoseMorninStar »

An article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal alerted me to this project:

[S]ix thousand spears to Sunlending,
Mundburg the mighty under Mindolluin,
Sea-kings' city in the South-kingdom
foe-beleaguered, fire-encircled.
LotR, bk. V, ch. III

Do you identify yourself as a Tolkien fan?
If so, join the Host!

In our effort to document Tolkien Fandom, the Department of Special Collections at Marquette’s Raynor Memorial Library is building a collection of brief testimonials from Tolkien fans.

The goal is 6,000 audio interviews, one for each of the Riders of Rohan that Théoden mustered and led to the aid of Gondor.
My heart is forever in the Shire.
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Eldy »

So, this past week, I took an intercity bus (after finding a great deal on Airbnb for a place to crash in) to see the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York--more specifically, in Midtown Manhattan. The Morgan is a private research library which also features a number of galleries, and was originally the private collection of J. P. Morgan. This upscale origin quickly becomes apparent once you enter. For example, I sat down at a table in the lobby without realizing it was cafe seating, and was immediately handed a menu and wine list that included such items as:

Ginger lemonade, $8
Glass of 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from California, $19
Cheese and crackers, $14
Avocado toast, $18.50
Veggie burger with fries, $21

Needless to say, I felt rather out of place, but they'd let me in wearing jeans, so eh. The Tolkien exhibit is on the second floor; as soon as you get off the elevators, there's a round doorway to get into the gallery. The wall around said doorway is painted to resemble Tolkien's black and white drawing of the interior of Bag End. Several of Tolkien's full color illustrations are reproduced within the gallery as wall murals, which was a nice touch. The gallery itself was not terribly big, though they had a bunch of dividers and such to increase the available wall space. The items on display were generally either hung in frames or displayed under glass along the side of the wall. The one non-paper item on display--the robe Tolkien wore when receiving his honorary D.Litt degree in 1971--was in a freestanding case in the middle of the room.

I had seen copies of much of the material on display before, but seeing the original drawings, paintings, and manuscript pages in person, from just inches away, was something totally different. One of the first things I saw, near the entrance, were some of Tolkien's First Age heraldic designs from the 1960s (the ones near the top of that page, not the Gondolin ones). I can't really put that initial feeling into words besides "wow"; I wouldn't expect the exhibit to have the same effect on everyone not deeply invested in Tolkien, but I figure people here can relate. One of the things that really struck me was just how small many of the originals were. Only a handful of items were on anything like A4/letter size or larger. The largest items were probably maps, though the earliest Silmarillion map was surprisingly small (the words "Do not write on this margin" are there because the page came from a University of Leeds workbook).

Some of the minor pieces I hadn't seen before were really neat. They had a bunch of sketches and designs, some of them in color, that Tolkien drew on scraps of newspaper. They were cool enough on their own--Tolkien evidently contextualized some of them as Númenórean design patterns--though it was also fun trying to read the original newspaper text through and around the ink. They had a bunch of material from the Father Christmas Letters, some of which was new to me, though some can also be found online (presumably because it was included in the published version, which I don't have a copy of). There were a number of family photographs as well. Everything came with fairly detailed descriptive labels, which I didn't notice any errors in--not that I expected any, as I've heard nothing but good things about Catherine McIlwaine's work.

I spent about an hour in the exhibit, though I didn't spend as much time with some of the items in the back as I might have liked, since it was getting crowded and a loud (and not super-great) tour guide showed up with a large group. Otherwise, everyone spoke in hushed and at times reverent voices. It was a really special experience, all the more so since the vast majority of my engagement with Tolkien has been online or else solitary (though I wasn't traveling with anyone I know on this trip). Also, it turns out the Morgan is only a short walk away from the main branch of the New York Public Library, so on a whim I decided to see their exhibition about the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots--and I didn't have to pay $22 to get in the door for that one. :P

The Tolkien exhibit is at the Morgan until May 12 and will next be shown in Paris at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, starting in October. I definitely recommend visiting to anyone who can make it. I've seen this described as a once-in-a-generation event and it could very well be a long time before something like this, featuring material from so many different collections, is brought together again. It makes me want to visit the Tolkien collections at Oxford or Marquette even more, though who knows when--if ever--that'll be in the cards for me. In any event, I'm very glad I was able to see this. To be honest, I've been pretty worn down lately and didn't really feel up to traveling, but I would've regretted letting this opportunity pass by.
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Impenitent »

How big is the exhibition? How long did it take you to see it?

We'll be in NY before it closes, so i'mna try to wrangle time out of our schedule to see it.

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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Impenitent »

I can't edit my previous post (why is that? Previous version of Tapatalk allowed it) hence this second one.

I expressed myself badly - I realise you spent an hour viewing the exhibition, but you said you didn't spend time on some areas. How long do you think it would take if one were to view it thoroughly?

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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Eldy »

I don't think I'd have taken more than ~15 minutes longer, but if I was with someone who I could talk to while going through the exhibit, I might have spent more like two hours in total. (And if the gallery had been empty and I didn't feel the need to make room for other people, it could easily have been much longer than that too. :D) I felt able to spend enough time on most of the pieces, though.

Hope you're able to visit; definitely let us know what you think of it if you do!
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Re: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth, exhibition

Post by Impenitent »

Thanks Eldy. I've managed to talk Marc into including it in our itinerary :D

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