The World Wide Walrus

The ``Lord of the Rings'' Wilderness Poster

Steve Gertz: Email to you (cheditor@...) bounced! Please send correction. (10-apr-2003)


   Lord of the Rings poster by Barbara Remington
   Ballantine ``Lord of the Rings'' poster by Barbara Remington. Oil on Masonite. About 1969. Very roughly 185cm × 96cm (73in. × 38in.)

Ballantine asked Barbara Remington to create a cover for the 1965 paperback edition of ``The Hobbit''. Her design was the left (blue) third of the poster. Note the presence of the dragon (Smaug) who would be a bit out of place w.r.t. ``The Fellowship'' but is perfectly placed for ``The Hobbit''.

Whereas Ballantine had actually paid Tolkien for the paperback rights, Ace Books issued their own version of the ``Lord of the Rings'' (apparently an unauthorized copy) at just that time. Ballantine was thus forced to rush the entire set to print and asked Ms. Remington to create more covers for the ``Lord of the Rings''.

She therefore added two more sections to the original cover for ``The Hobbit'' (all done in oil on masonite), to form the covers for the three volumes of ``Lord of the Rings''. Merging the three sections into one large painting thus formed the basis for the poster, which was issued around 1969 and was sold in bookstores for about $12 (the price on my poster actually says $5.95, and I've heard of others with a price of $5.00 that have a serial number instead of an ISBN(?) number.)

Each of the three sections is signed ``BRem''.

Download Images

The following images were produced with a Nikon Coolpix 950 digital camera under less than optimal conditions (poster hanging on the wall, indoors, flash in use; the wide aperture has produced visible distortion). I've done some image processing on it to reduce the effect of the flash. Given the circumstances I did rather well (thanks to the GIMP).

I plan on finishing the process of getting the poster framed professionally sometime before the end of 2000. At that point I will endeavour to obtain much higher quality images of the poster, which I will make available here.

Without further ado, here are the images:

JPEG (Much smaller, slightly lower quality)
Size: 1538 × 794. Not cropped. JPEG format. 195 K
Size: 1024 × 502. Cropped. JPEG format. 88 K

PNG (Significantly larger, non-lossy, good for doing your own processing)
Size: 1538 × 794. Not cropped. PNG format. 2279 K
Size: 1024 × 502. Cropped. PNG format. 995 K


I would like to thank Paul Ward for filling me in on the poster's history. Until then I did not even realize that the first section was originally destined for ``The Hobbit''.

Also of interest might be ``Bored of the Rings'', a parody of ``The Lord of the Rings''

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