TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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'The tide of Tolkien adulation'

TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). Author of The Lord of the Rings.
Fine Typewritten Letter Signed ('Ronald Tolkien') to fellow Oxford don Jonathan Wordsworth, 2½ pages 4to, Merton College, Oxford 26 September 1972. The letter refers to a bust of Tolkien made by his daughter-in-law Faith and acquired by the English Faculty Library in 1966, and to a scheme to sell reproductions or photographic copies to raise funds for the Library.
Tolkien sets out the legal position, i.e. that the bust is the property of the English Faculty who may do as they like in the way of reproduction, and explains the history of the bust, which he himself has had cast in bronze and presented to the Library. He diffidently suggests that Faith might receive something in the way of royalities, as she was not well paid for the original and bronze casting has become yet more expensive. As an alternative to casting copies, he suggests photographic reproductions and agrees to sign a limited number for sale. Writing personal letters to accompany cast replicas is not something that he wishes to undertake.
'... After the bust returned from exhibition in the Royal Academy I undertook to house it until a suitable place for it could be found when the English Faculty had a home of its own. Since the original plaster form was liable to damage, except in expert hands, I had it cast in bronze and then surrendered it to the Faculty together with the original plaster. I told the Faculty at the time that I thought it might be possible to have some other casts made to order while the tide of Tolkien adulation was still high ... .'

[No: 19946]

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