John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) is almost too well known to know what to write about him. His erudition as a philologist at Oxford was legendary – the many languages he knew included ancient Icelandic, Middle English, and other Germanic precursors to English, as well as the classics. He invented a language for his own imaginary world, which was to emerge in the Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. His powerful personal connection to this language and world that he invented is illustrated by the fact that he had ‘Lúthien’ engraved on his wife’s tombstone and ‘Beren’ on his own.the books themselves.
He did not believe that stories should be illustrated. He felt that it was the part of the reader to imagine the people and events in whatever way the words inspired him or her, thereby making the story more personally significant and powerful. However, he did believe that explanatory maps and information were useful and drew these to accompany his books. He was also willing to make cover designs.
He did make a number of pictures of events and scenes from his books, apparently for his own amusement or for his children, as these were not published in the books themselves.