a kind of lost paradise
J.R.R. Tolkien

The family stayed in Sarehole for four years and Tolkien recalled that they were 'the longest-seeming and most formative part of my life.' The sharp break in his childhood from the hot, dusty climate of the high veldt to the lush, green landscape of the English Midlands, made a strong impression on him. He had suffered bouts of ill-health in South Africa, particularly during the searing heat of the summer, and fears for his health had initially precipitated the trip to Birmingham. In Sarehole he found a rural idyll and his natural home.

This early watercolour in a childhood sketch-book captures the many shades of green in the English countryside. MS. Tolkien Drawings 84, fol. 28r. Reproduced with kind permission of The Tolkien Estate. © The Tolkien Trust 1995.

The family stayed in Sarehole for four years and Tolkien recalled that they were 'the longest-seeming and most formative part of my life.' The sharp break in his childhood from the hot, dusty climate of the high veldt to the lush, green landscape of the English Midlands, made a strong impression on him. He had suffered bouts of ill-health in South Africa, particularly during the searing heat of the summer, and fears for his health had initially precipitated the trip to Birmingham. In Sarehole he found a rural idyll and his natural home.

This early watercolour in a childhood sketch-book captures the many shades of green in the English countryside. MS. Tolkien Drawings 84, fol. 28r.

Reproduced with kind permission of The Tolkien Estate Limited for the Bodleian Libraries exhibition Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.

© The Tolkien Trust 1995

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Image total size 25.0 x 16.9 cm
Print total size 29.0 x 20.9 cm

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