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Sale 2337 Lot 77
Lord of the Rings. Pen and ink and pencil on paper. 390x465 mm; 15 1/2x18 1/4 inches. Few soft creases and light smudging. Unsigned in frame. 1975.
Estimate $8,000 - 12,000
In 1975 Frazetta published an interpretation of Lord Of the Rings (Denver: Middle Earth, 1975) comprising a portfolio of 6 lithographs (with the first plate of each suite signed by Frazetta) illustrating Tolkien's classic fantasy in an edition of 1000 numbered copies. This is one of the original drawings retained by the publisher of the portfolio. Though lacking his signature, Frazetta was notoriously reluctant to sign works of his that he didn't own. The subject appears to feature what is likely Bilbo and a Warg, an encounter from The Hobbit rather than the trilogy, nevertheless it was included in the limited edition portfolio.
This is apparently a preliminary but still finished drawing for Plate 3 retained by the publisher and differing from the published version in only minor details. While the published picture is a vertical, this one is a horizontal which may explain why the roots in the lower part of the final design are somewhat shorter in this rendering. Perhaps the ink splatter visible above the central mushroom on the moss covered log between the Hobbit and the Warg, not evident in the published picture, convinced the artist to redo the drawing.