I was born and bred in Tolkien country, just a few short miles from Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog, so the world famous fantasy author has always held a special place in my literary heart. Even if I failed to read his Lord of the Rings trilogy several times before finally conquering it not very long ago.
So you can imagine my excitement when I awoke to the news that a map has been found! A genuine Tolkien map.
It was discovered by Blackwell’s Rare Books in a copy of The Lord of the Rings owned by famed illustrator Pauline Baynes, apparently she’d removed it from another copy so she could work on her own colour Map of Middle-earth for Tolkien, which would go on to be published by Allen & Unwin in 1970.
Tolkien has written upon the map in green ink and pencil, giving rise to the belief that perhaps the Italian city of Ravenna might be the inspiration fr Minas Tirith and that Hobbiton shares its latitude with Oxford where Tolkien was a professor of Anglo Saxon.
Blackwell’s has said that the map provides a rare insight into “the exacting nature” of Tolkien’s creative vision: he corrects place names, provides extra ones, and gives Baynes a host of suggestions about the map’s various flora and fauna.
They currently have the map exhibited at their Oxford premises and it is to be put up for sale at the princely sum of £60,000.
Anyone lend me a few quid?