With the Last Known Photograph of J. R. R. Tolkien

    J. R. R. Tolkien. Farmer Giles of Ham. With the Last Known Photograph of J. R. R. Tolkien. Illustrated by Pauline Diana Baynes. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1949.

    First edition. Octavo. 79 pages.

    Original muted orange cloth. Blue titles on spine and blue dragon illustration on front board. Top edge stained blue. Leaning spine. Some light soiling to top edge of rear board, running into rear pastedown. Modestly rubbed spine ends. Dust jacket has mild toning with rubbing and light chipping to spine ends and corners, with a one-inch tear at top edge of rear panel and another to tail of front joint. A very good copy.

    Accompanying this book is a 3.5-inch square black and white candid photo of Tolkien. Inscription on rear from Priscilla Tolkien, his daughter, to Elaine Griffiths, reads: "August 9th, 1973. Last photograph taken / Photographer: grandson, Michael / Place: Oxford Botanical Gardens by his favourite tree, a Black Pine which he named Laocoon. For Elaine - with love from Priscilla." Placed within an envelope with "Ronald Tolkien" written on front. Highly significant for being the final photo taken of Tolkien.

    Elaine Griffiths was a former student of Tolkien's and was later employed by the publishing house of Allen & Unwin. In 1936 she urged Susan Dagnall, also an Oxford graduate then employed by Allen & Unwin, to borrow and read the unfinished typescript of The Hobbit. After reading it, Dagnall encouraged Tolkien to complete The Hobbit in order that Allen & Unwin could consider publishing it. Without Elaine Griffiths' intervention and inspiration, fantasy publishing history in the twentieth century might have been very different. In an inscription to her, Tolkien once called Griffiths the "queen of Hobbits."

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
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