"Rarely-seen" Tolkien art

The Smithsonian reviews some of J.R.R. Tolkien's most lavish and enchanting artwork, as painted for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Audiences can now view a selection of Tolkien's rarely seen Lord of the Rings artworks for free via the Tolkien Estate's newly updated website, reports Sarah Cascone for Artnet. The portal, which debuted last month, also allows viewers to explore documents, images and audio clips related to Tolkien's personal life and his lesser-known pursuits as a mapmaker, calligrapher and artist.

"Rarely-seen", perhaps, but that outstanding painting of Smaug and Bilbo was a common paperback cover for The Hobbit in the UK in the 1980s.