Thursday, December 18, 2014

An Illuminated Silmarillion

Calligraphy page of The Silmarillion Here is the beautiful work of Benjamin Harff, who has created an illuminated copy of the Silmarillion for an exit exam at an arts academy. The initials, calligraphic pages, and illuminations were produced by hand, while the text appears to have been done digitally somehow. What is clear is that this was a work of love.

I have always wanted to try my hand at a major calligraphy project. I've studied the basic techniques, acquired the supplies, practiced writing with uncial script, examined famous examples like the Book of Kells, etc. Obviously I am only a tyro. But it would be a dream come true to produce a work like this young man has, though he several times expresses regret that lack of time prevented him from doing things as he would have had them. The title page alone he says took seventy to eighty hours, and we all know that some of the great medieval works took many years and were contributed to by several hands.

So, I laud his success in his alpha version (his term for it), and wish him the time to create a beta version. I for one would pay money for a reasonably priced facsimile of an illuminated Silmarillion, and I hope the Tolkien Estate is paying attention.

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