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Re: Another Tolkien eBay Letter
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Here is Christina's breakdown of the relevant chronology:

1 August 1962: Tolkien writes to Pauline Baynes (Mrs Gasch) about changes he has made to the poems for the Adventures of Tom Bombadil book. On the same date, Allen & Unwin write to Pauline that they are delighted with her drawings done to date, and that Rayner Unwin will show them to Tolkien in Oxford the next day.

2 August: Rayner's visit takes place.

3 August: Tolkien writes to Pauline expressing his own pleasure at the drawings. Also on 3 August, Rayner writes to Tolkien with details about Pauline's schedule for completing the illustrations, and asks Tolkien to lunch with him and his father in London, suggesting that this be on either 22 August or 5 September.

7 August: Allen & Unwin write to Pauline about a mock-up for the book.

9 August: Tolkien writes to Rayner, agreeing on a visit to London on 22 August. He has written to Pauline, and today receives a reply from her that she is proceeding enthusiastically with her work.

10 August: Allen & Unwin thank Pauline for sending more illustrations.

22 August: Tolkien visits Allen & Unwin in London, and sees Pauline's full-page illustrations for the book.

27 August: Rayner sends Tolkien the full-page illustrations.

29 August: Tolkien writes to Rayner, commenting on the illustrations.

22 November: The Bombadil book is published.

23 December: Tolkien writes to Pauline, commenting on the reception of the Bombadil book.

From this and other correspondence in our records, from the Tolkien, Baynes, and Allen & Unwin archives, it's clear that:

Allen & Unwin, not Tolkien, handled the business end of the Bombadil book. The publisher originated the commission, indicated which illustrations were needed, agreed on remuneration, and showed the finished art to the author. Rayner Unwin would not have engaged Tolkien to write to Pauline on Allen & Unwin's behalf.

There were no arrangements to be 'finalised' between artist, publisher, and author. Everything was working to schedule, and the illustrations were proving entirely satisfactory.

Since Rayner Unwin on 3 August suggested 22 August for meeting Tolkien in London, and the latter agreed to this on 9 August, Tolkien hardly would have tried on 5 August to arrange, on Rayner's behalf, a three-way meeting in Oxford on 25 August.

Apart from the purported letter on eBay, no other document refers to a suggested or scheduled meeting on 25 August.

Good for Trotter in pointing out the watermark problem. To this we would add that the embossed stamp on the eBay lot is entirely different in lettering and arrangement from one on an undoubtedly genuine Tolkien letter of 16 August 1962 -- unless one wishes to suggest that Tolkien had two separate Sandfield Road address stamps and that were in more or less simultaneous use.

It's amazing that these similar letters, among which the somewhat generic but equally questionable one to 'Mrs Wilding' must be counted, have been coming on the market now for more than a year. Beren once said in this forum that he was going to dig into the matter further: has he come up with anything?

Christina and Wayne

Posted on: 2009/12/11 21:18


Re: Another Tolkien eBay Letter
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One correction to our post this morning: after checking our Pauline Baynes correspondence files, we find that Tolkien sent her at least two typewritten letters. However, the typewriter font, manner of typing, etc. of those certainly genuine letters are distinctly different from the characteristics of the one offered on eBay.

Christina has spent part of the day looking closely at the chronology of the Tolkien-Baynes-Allen & Unwin exchange in 1962, about which we'll have more to say this evening.

Wayne

Posted on: 2009/12/11 12:28


Re: Another Tolkien eBay Letter
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And also from the same eBay seller is this allegedly autographed (in blue ink) Return of the King:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/A-TOLKIEN-SIGNE ... tible?hash=item439c046fb1

The letter supposedly to Mrs Gasch (Pauline Baynes) fits into the known chronology (possibly thanks to Scull and Hammond, not what we meant to enable), but one has to wonder why Tolkien would twice misspell his publisher's name, why Tolkien would be acting as secretary or agent for Allen & Unwin when A&U always wrote this kind of letter themselves, why this should be a typed letter when all of Tolkien's known letters to Pauline (we've handled them) are manuscript, not to mention the usual problems of atypical typewriting, layout, etc., and the curious use of 'finalise' which we expect Tolkien would have considered substandard English.

Once again, it's interesting to look at the seller's other items offered on eBay. These include a questionable T.S. Eliot autograph in the Practical Cats and a tambourine, of all things, supposedly from T.E. Lawrence's home Clouds Hill and autographed by both Lawrence and Winston Churchill. Lots of blue ink, naturally.

Wayne and Christina

Posted on: 2009/12/11 6:31


Re: Another Tolkien eBay Letter
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Like the "Higgins" letters and the one supposedly to Walter Hooper, we strongly doubt the authenticity of the one to "Chris". It does indeed have the same paper, signature, and so forth we've seen before. Just as the "Hooper" letter takes off from the published letter to Hooper of 22 November 1966 (Letters, p. 371), repeating or adapting certain key words, so the "Chris" letter proceeds from Tolkien's letter to Joy Hill of 12 December 1966 (also Letters, p. 371, immediately following the one to Hooper!): "impertinent" > "impertinence", "claim property in inventing proper names" > "claim legal sway over the invention of proper names", etc.

So, was this letter supposed to have been sent to Christopher Wiseman? or to Christopher Tolkien? In either case, it would not have been signed "J.R.R. Tolkien". Are we to believe that Tolkien, on 11 December (if we read the date correctly), sent "Chris" a copy of the papers from the "young ass", and then on the 12th sent the originals to Allen & Unwin with his letter to Joy Hill? (The enclosures consisted of a sketch of the plot and three sample chapters, plus a covering letter: see Chronology, p. 682.)

Also, the reproduction of the "Chris" letter is clear enough to compare its typewriter face against that of Tolkien letters in our files only a day apart, and it's obviously a different machine in use.

As for the Unwin Books Hobbit being offered by the same seller, it seems to us that the second (non-printed) signature was written as carefully as possible to match the printed signature, and therefore not by Tolkien himself. We have on our shelves an Unwin Books Hobbit (first printing) with an unquestionably genuine Tolkien signature under the printed one, and there are differences between the two such as naturally occur from signature to signature. Our copy had been autographed for Rayner Unwin, who gave it to us as a wedding present in 1994 with a note from Rayner laid in: "The book you know: the second signature is not a printing error -- or forgery!"

Wayne and Christina

Posted on: 2009/11/21 13:40


Re: 1991 HarperCollins Hardback Slipcase Lord of the Rings
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Our set is also 11.2 cm wide. It was bought in London, and Christina assumes that she got it as soon as it reached the shops.

Do both variants give the printing location as Glasgow, as ours does? Do both have the GBP14.99 price on the jacket flaps? Was the wider variant perhaps made for an overseas market, or for a book club edition, and separately printed? It seems less likely that HarperCollins would change the dimensions of binding cases and slipcase partway through the run, and more likely that the variants represent separate manufactures.

I'm wondering what caused the 0.7 cm difference in width. Thicker paper? Thicker boards?

Wayne

Posted on: 2009/11/9 5:29



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