Middle-earth fans will not want to miss this amazing book from artist Jay JohnstoneTolkienography: Isildur’s Bane & Iconic Interpretations (with commentary by Thomas Honegger).

The cover and an inside glimpse of Jay Johnstone's beautiful book, showing Tolkien characters painted in the style of iconography. Also shown is the black (with gold logo) slip cover the book comes in.

It’s an amazing volume, filled with rich, luminous artwork. It was reviewed in the latest edition of the Journal of Inkling Studies (Volume 10, issue 2); here’s a little of what writer Lance A. Green had to say:

Tolkienography invites a deep immersion in Tolkien’s myth through the artwork of Jay Johnstone, who has been painting Tolkien-themed illustrations for about thirty years. Together with Thomas Honegger’s commentary, Tolkienography offers a novel artistic rendering of Tolkien’s sub-creation, provoking new interpretations of its characters and essential themes. Printed with colourful clarity, the styles and techniques of Johnstone’s pieces are different enough to avoid any redundancy for the viewer. Colours, spacing, and characters are varied with each turn of the page, as are the painting techniques, which range from more contemporary styles to those mirroring medieval forms, including frescos and Byzantine iconography. Johnstone’s oils and charcoal works certainly capture the imagination: the charcoal and chalk of the Council of Elrond (25), the oil on canvas of Isildur’s death in the river Anduin (35, 39), and the binding of Melkor (41) all wonderfully convey character and scene. An immense oil and gold-leaf rendering of Gandalf atop Shadowfax riding into Helm’s Deep (49–50) is one of the most striking paintings in the book, afforded two full pages in order to capture its immensity. Yet the artwork that crowns and guides Tolkienography is the Byzantine-styled iconographic paintings of Tolkien’s characters.

Lance A. Green, Journal of Inkling Studies Vol 10 Issue 2
An inside image from the book, showing an icon painting of Elessar in armour, with Anduril in his hands

The Journal is published by Edinburgh University Press; you can find more of the article here. If you’d like your own copy of Johnstone’s beautiful book, don’t delay – it’s a limited print of 500 copies! At only £45 – and signed by the artist! – it really is a steal for such a spectacular book. You can order it – and see more art from Johnstone – at his website, here.

Jay Johnstone's wonderful icon image of Gandalf, displayed in a gold frame.

GandalfAndShadowfaxWe’ve just heard the sad news that Blanco, the beautiful horse that played Shadowfax in the Lord of the Rings films, has died. We knew that he’d been ill and that his owner and friend, Cynthia Royal, was desperately trying to save him, sadly the decision was made to end his suffering.  Cynthia announced this to his fans and followers in an open letter on their website.  Our condolences and love go out to Cynthia and all her family.  RIP Blanco, running free in the Undying Lands.

Continue reading “In Memory of Shadowfax”

Patricia writes: I wanted to inform that Cynthia and Tony Royal who own and tour with Blanco/Shadowfax have taken on a rather daunting rescue mission, that of rescuing a herd of 27 horses, including 9 stallions. With hay out here at around $25 a bale, they personally don’t have the means to support them, but hope their goal is to use them for equine assisted psychotherapy to eventually be able to get grant money. In the meantime, they desperately need donations. Cynthia has asked me to drive people to www.PegasusRising.org so they can read the story, see the video and hopefully donate. If everyone we know would donate $25, they’d be taken care of for a year.

Now as to our big beautiful Blanco/Shadowfax, he has not been feeling well, Cynthia and Tony think something metabolic, so their are unable to travel far with him and book further shows. Please keep keep Blanco, Cynthia and Tony in your thoughts. It seems that everyone is dealing with problems whether financial or health concerns but together maybe we can help this great threesome out.