Friday, April 8, 2011

how Maurice Sendak almost illustrated The Hobbit!

In the late 1960's illustrator Maurice Sendak almost had the chance to illustrate The Hobbit -- but it never happened!
It was the 30 anniversary edition of the novel -- but before Tolkien, then 75, would approve he asked Sendak to do a few sketches. He went ahead and created two sketches, one of them (above) of Gandalf and Bilbo.

But when the publisher sent the pieces, the second of which was wood-elves, for Tolkien’s approval, a mistake was made. The editor labeled the wood-elves as hobbits and Tolkien was upset. He replied that Sendak didn't know what a hobbit was and couldn't have read the book. He did not approve of the drawings. The publisher tried to fix this misunderstanding, even going so far as to set up a meeting between the two while Sendak was touring the U.K. in support of Where the Wild Things Are, but the day before their meeting, Sendak suffered a major heart attack. He recovered, but no meeting ever took place, and the project was abandoned.

Thanks to Fuse #8 and I Heart Chaos for the info!