This paper examines J.R.R. Tolkien’s calligraphic work in the light of the medieval scripts that possibly or certainly inspired him, aiming to demonstrate how his art was informed by the philological and paleographical dimensions. At first, we explore the context in which Tolkien’s calligraphic skills flourished. After that, the influence of the Anglo-Saxon Square Minuscule, the Insular Half-uncial, and the Uncial scripts is investigated by means of examples taken from Tolkien’s illustrations and manuscripts. The impact of the English Carolingian Minuscule, via Edward Johnston’s Foundational Hand, is also discussed. In the last section, the lettering in the maps prepared for The Hobbit is examined to corroborate the claim that Tolkien was not only the pseudo-editor and translator, but also the pseudo-scribe of the Red Book of Westmarch.
Kumamoto, Eduardo B.
"‘Written in a Fair Hand’: The Living Tradition of Medieval Scripts in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Calligraphy,"
Journal of Tolkien Research: Vol. 10:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/journaloftolkienresearch/vol10/iss2/8