Conversation with Smaug
J.R.R. Tolkien

1937

After many desperate adventures Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves finally reach the Lonely Mountain, the former stronghold of the Dwarves and are faced by their greatest foe yet, the winged and fire-breathing dragon, Smaug. Described in the very first chapter of The Hobbit as 'a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm' (a description borne out by the skeletal remains of the previous inhabitants littering his lair), Smaug is shown lying on top of his stolen treasure hoard.

A large terracotta jar filled with gold, stands in the foreground: it is so large that the hobbit would need to use a ladder to reach the treasure inside. Its outer surface is incised with a mysterious script which no reader could decipher. This was in fact the first public appearance of Tolkien's invented Elvish script, Tengwar. Tolkien had been creating Elvish languages and legends for over twenty years but none had been published prior to The Hobbit. Appendices in The Lord of the Rings, which was published eighteen years later, provided the necessary tools to translate the script which was a curse on thieves.

Tolkien invented the name Smaug, deriving it from 'the past tense of the primitive Germanic verb Smugan, to squeeze through a hole'. The term Hobbit, on the other hand, was a pure invention written down with no prior conscious thought. Tolkien wrote the opening line, 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit', as he marked a student's exam paper, later declaring, 'I did not and do not know why'. MS. Tolkien Drawings 30. Reproduced with kind permission of The Tolkien Estate Limited for the Bodleian Libraries exhibition Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.

© The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937.

Share this print  
Step 1: choose the material
Step 2: choose the size
Step 3: choose finishings and framing
Image total size 19.1 x 25.0 cm
Print total size 23.1 x 29.0 cm

Add to cart
£12.00  

Paper without frame
The reproduction is rolled in a rigid tube for shipping.
Fine Art Giclée printing is commonly used at a professional level for the reproduction of works of art. The inkjet printing technique uses natural pigments which are highly light-resistant. We use a special 260g/m2 matte Fine Art paper for high-quality reproductions.
The work will be printed according to the measures you have requested and will include an additional white border.