The Hill: Hobbiton-across-the Water
J.R.R. Tolkien

1937
There is no written description of Hobbiton in the bookbut as Bilbo set off on his adventures with the Dwarves from the Green Dragon Inn at Bywater, he passed through, 'hobbit-lands, a wide respectable country inhabited by decent folk, with good roads, an inn or two, and now and then a dwarf or a farmer ambling by on business.' It was only many years later when the The Lord of the Rings was published that readers learnt that hobbits lived in a place called the Shire.

Tolkien made many preliminary sketches of Bag-End and the Hill before arriving at this finished view of 'The Hill', seen from across the water. The Water, although meant to sound like a large expanse of water, was actually the name of the small river that ran through Hobbiton. By capitalizing 'The Hill' and 'The Water' Tolkien exposes the parochial nature of hobbits, overly concerned with their own small patch of the world. The well-tended landscape of fields, bordered by hedgerows and trees, is an idealized view of the English countryside that Tolkien had loved from childhood. He was born in Bloemfontein in South Africa to English parents and arrived in England for the first time aged three. He spent four happy years, between the ages of four and eight, in the Warwickshire village of Sarehole where he experienced a sense of belonging or homecoming. The large water-mill in the foreground of the painting was inspired by the mill in Sarehole and was an essential element in Tolkien's conception of a pre-industrial rural idyll. MS. Tolkien Drawings 26. Reproduced with kind permission of The Tolkien Estate Limited for the Bodleian Libraries exhibition Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.

© The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937.

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Image total size 18.9 x 25.0 cm
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