Monday, November 20, 2023

Off-trail Hobbit Illustrations: Michael Hague

Michael Hague illustrated the 1984 edition of The Hobbit, but that wasn't the only time he illustrated scenes from The Hobbit.  Also in 1984, the Easton Press published a special edition of The Hobbit with a frontispiece by Hague that is not included in any other edition of the book. I show the title page and frontispiece here: 

 Click to enlarge

One aspect of this illustration is incongruous with the text in the book.  Can you spot it?  (I append the answer at the bottom of this blog entry.*) 

In 1995, Hague returned once more to Tolkien, including an extract "Bilbo Baggins and Smaug" in The Book of Dragons, selected and illustrated by Hague. The first page of the extract has what might appear to be an illustration for Tolkien, but it isn't:

The dragon framing this page appears on the first page of every selection in the book. Most selections have one full-page color illustration, plus a number of smaller ink drawings. The color illustration for the Tolkien selection is here:


This is somewhat similar (but with brighter coloring) to Smaug's depiction in the double-spread illustration in Hague's 1984 edition.

The single Hague ink drawing accompanying the Tolkien text in The Book of Dragons is here: 

That sums up the off-trail Michael Hague Tolkien illustrations that I know of. Does anyone know of more? 

* The incongruity of the Easton Press frontispiece is that when the Bilbo and the Dwarves come to the Lonely Mountain (after their time in Laketown), Gandalf is not with them.


  1. Fortunate I am to have the '84 Easton Hobbit. Bruce

  2. Surely, when Bilbo and the dwarves come out of Mirkwood, the dwarves are in barrels and cannot see anything? Bilbo sees the Lonely Mountain from the raft, but releases the dwarves at night, and they enter Esgaroth immediately. The peak of the Lonely Mountain is visible from the town "in clear weather" (ch XIV) but it is not recorded when the Dwarves first observe it.

    1. You are correct. I should have said when Bilbo and the Dwarves approach the Lonely Mountain after Laketown. I've fixed it now. The passage that appears to coincide with the illustration is the first sentence of Chapter 11, "On the Doorstep." Thanks for writing.