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Welcome to the blog and this collection of original artwork inspired by The Lord of the Rings and J.R.R Tolkien's wider mythology of Middle-earth. Aside from the influence of the source writing of Tolkien influence is also drawn from Director Peter Jackson's film trilogy (2001-2003) and the highly regarded Tolkien illustrators Alan Lee and John Howe. The magnificent musical score written for the film trilogy by Howard Shore also holds a significant influence upon the atmospheric and evocative quality of the works in this collection. From Mordor to the Misty Mountains combines landscape, miniature-scale and composite photography to depict locations, dramatic scenes and characters from the enduringly popular stories.

Contact: johncockshaw@gmail.com

PLEASE NOTE: This blog showcases Artwork (completed and in progress) and related exhibition news. There is NO option to purchase Art through this site at this time. Please visit from time to time as this may well change soon.

Copyright of all images belongs to John A Cockshaw


New art inspired by Middle-earth at the Great North Art Show 2018

Open from Saturday 1st September and running until Sunday 23rd September at Ripon Cathedral in North Yorkshire is the Great North Art Show 2018.  In this show I'm lucky to have been selected to exhibit six of my brand new paintings inspired by JRR Tolkien's Middle-earth in scenes from 'The Lord of the Rings'.

These works are also for sale as varied printed goods in my artist shop on Redbubble.


Rivers, restless roots, forests and mountains (New work update #1)

Hello! I've been extremely busy lately with exhibitions, book publishing and art projects (and not all Tolkien-related) but I have been actively producing new Tolkien and Middle-earth inspired artwork since early Spring. In the first of two or so updates, this is a selection of new paintings and photographic artwork that I've produced since early Spring, with one or two from 2017 that I haven't shared yet.  I'm very active on Facebook these days so I do admit that too many months have elapsed since I tended to this blog.  I hope you enjoy the pieces below, and the update that will follow within the next week.

The River of long and restless roots 
(John Cockshaw, 2018)

Last outpost of the distant mountains (The Carrock) 
(John Cockshaw, 2017)

The Folly and the Moon (inspired by Ithilien)
(John Cockshaw, 2017)

The Mirror and the enchanted wood
(John Cockshaw, 2018)

Stones, slopes and a twisted knot of hills
(John Cockshaw, 2018)

The mountain smokes beneath the moon
(John Cockshaw, 2018)


Ered Luin (The Blue Mountains) - Live gallery drawing 11.10.17

Drawn live at the ART IN THE MILL Gallery in Knaresborough during the final week of the collective exhibition 'Far from the Shire', this mountainous view of The Blue Mountains began with a line and pencil-shaded under-drawing before further development with drawing pen and watercolour pen.

The exhibition has now come to a close officially and a proper report with photographs will follow very soon.


Helm's Deep - let us defend it with hope!

'Is it not said that no foe has ever taken the Hornburg, if men defended it?'
'So the minstrels say', said Eomer
'Then let us defend it with hope!', said Aragorn.

(The Two Towers, JRR Tolkien)

In this drawing, based on Newcastle castle, I've placed atmosphere above accuracy and practicality of an actual functional keep.  A blue shade is really intended here to convey a coldness, a forlorn hope and desperate atmosphere.  This was completed over a two-day live gallery drawing event whilst hosting the opening of the 'Far from the Shire' art exhibition on 30th September and 1st October.  I was joined also by artist Guy Brady whose piece has since been finished and posted on his social media pages.



On 30th September at ART IN THE MILL gallery on Green Dragon Yard in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, a new group exhibition organised by myself will open for a two-week run until 15th October.

FAR FROM THE SHIRE is a project I've been planning since March, was initially a solo show until I had the idea of bringing a complimenting collective together that would create something bigger; a love-letter to JRR Tolkien's Middle-earth that would inspire awe and wonder in the visitors to the exhibition.

The timing is nice given the very recent 80th anniversary of the first publication of 'The Hobbit' on 21st September 1937.  Joining myself and a full cross-section of my photography-based work and recent painting are, Jay Stelling (doll maker), Guy Brady (expert draughtsman), Jemima Catlin (HarperCollins Tolkien illustrator from 2013), Tomas Hijo (prolific printmaker based in Salamanca) and Soni Alcorn-Hender (illustrator and frequent collaborator based in Portugal).  This will be an exhibition of special magnificence and a full photo report will follow.

The images below are from the extensive social media campaign that launched in September.



Riding to Rohan (Early morning in Edoras)
(Acrylic and ink. John Cockshaw, 2017)

‘Edoras those courts are called,’ said Gandalf...We are come with the rising of the day. Now the road lies plain to see before us. But we must ride more warily...’
(Chapter 6 ‘The Two Towers’, JRR Tolkien)
Inspired by Chapter 6 'The King of the Golden Hall' in 'The Two Towers' by JRR Tolkien, Gandalf the White, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli ride with haste to the Golden Hall of Edoras in the wold of Rohan. This colourful and expressive interpretation of the aforementioned section of Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' was painted in ink and acrylic. The original painting is 40 x 30 inches.

Bywater and the scouring of The Shire
(Pen, ink and acrylic on paper. John Cockshaw, 2017)

This latest artwork of mine takes inspiration from the penultimate chapter of 'The Return of the King' by JRR Tolkien, and the initial shock the hobbits feel at the spoiling of their homeland.
'...they came to Bywater by its wide pool; and there they had their most painful shock...And looking with dismay up the road towards Bag End they saw a tall chimney of brick in the distance. It was pouring out black smoke into the evening air.'
(Chapter 8, ROTK. J.R.R. Tolkien)


The Way to Weathertop

The Way to Weathertop (Amon Sul) 2015

This newly posted piece dates back to a year ago and, as a combination of ink drawing and photographic study, was produced specifically for the exhibition 'Dales of a perilous Realm' featuring myself and Archaeologist Shaun Richardson that featured at Mill Bridge Gallery in Skipton, Yorkshire between February and June 2016.  The reference point is Ingleborough, one of the forbidding Three Peaks that lie in the breathtaking Yorkshire Dales.


ILLUMINATING TOLKIEN: An exhibition report. September 2016

Twelve Artists. Two venues. A castle. A cathedral. A love of Middle-earth. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

The months leading up to September this year were extremely busy with planning and discussion between a horde of artists and organisers for an exhibition that I had the good fortune of having a prominent role. It was an exciting time and an exciting exhibition too.

'ILLUMINATING TOLKIEN: An exhibition of Art and Illustration' was the show that resulted. In partnership with Time&Tide Events, a Gateshead-based events team (and Tolkien enthusiasts), we worked to a plan of putting on an exhibition inspired by Middle-earth to feature at their second annual Tolkien Weekend event in Newcastle.  The first Tolkien Weekend in September 2015 attracted an impressive footfall of visitors and even gained (surprisingly) coverage of BBC's Songs of Praise.  For 2016 Time&Tide managed to attract the attention of JRR Tolkien's great-grandson Royd Tolkien as guest of honour.

Over the course of one week, 19th-25th September, the show was installed at two venues in Newcastle city centre; St. Nicholas' Cathedral and Newcastle castle. The exhibition opened with the preview night on the evening of Monday 19th September.

The Artists on show: John Cockshaw, Jemima Catlin, Tomas Hijo, Soni Alcorn-Hender, Jay Johnstone, Anke Eissmann, Ted Nasmith, Stephen Graham Walsh, Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska, Peter Xavier Price, Tsvetelina Krumova and Archaeologist Shaun Richardson.

Of particular note was the appearance of recent Official HarperCollins illustrator Jemima Catlin. Catlin's illustrations graced the 2013 edition of 'The Hobbit' and it was a joy to have Jemima accept the invitation to exhibit with us, and most of also exhibited at The Tolkien Society's Oxonmoot earlier in the month. Archaeologist Shaun Richardson joined us again too, and being the third time of involving Richardson in an exhibition project it was a pleasure to have his unique Middle-earth inspired survey drawings grace the show. The array of art on show was quite incredible and as many of the artists were too geographically out of reach to attend the show we were able to put together a greetings video to give some of the artists a chance to say "Hello" and attend the exhibition in spirit.


New Art inspired by The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. August / September 2016

A succession of new posts will shortly be forthcoming to catch up on some very busy months that have flown by without any new update here.  The first is this one here, which presents the newest work from my portfolio inspired by both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.  The most notable thing to mention is the return to traditional media that I've undertaken.  This has been a natural development especially following on from the book release from Oloris Publishing Wrath, Ruin and a Red Nightfall: The Art of John Cockshaw having underlined just how far my photography-centred approach to Tolkien Art could go.  This has both marked a return to previous ways of working and a completely new approach to making art than has previously appeared on this blog.  Please enjoy the new work and further news updates soon!

September in the Shire (2016, Acrylic and ink on canvas)
Original painting 30x30inches.  SOLD (Prints available)

Path to the secret valley of Rivendell (2016, Acrylic, ink and pastel on canvas)
Original painting 40x40inches.  Prints available 

Cirith Ungol (2016, Pen and ink on paper. Original A2)
Prints available

Cirith Ungol *Alternate variation* (2016, Pen and ink on paper. Original A2)
Prints are available.

Mountain of Fire (2016, Pen, ink and digital)
Prints are available.

Mountain of Fire *2nd variation* (2016, Pen, ink and digital)
Prints are available.

...Silent mountain listening... (2016, mixed media)
Prints are available

...The Lady spoke... (2016, mixed media on board)
Prints are available

Mile by mile to Mordor (2016, Pen, ink, charcoal and digital)
Prints are available.


PRE-ORDER 'Wrath, Ruin and a Red Nightfall: The Art of John Cockshaw' from Oloris Publishing

For the past three years things have been busy behind the scenes putting together an Art volume with Oloris Publishing featuring everything (and more) on this site into a single 276 page volume.

It is a huge pleasure to be able to say that 'Wrath, Ruin and a Red Nightfall: The Art of John Cockshaw' will shortly be available and the book can be pre-ordered by following the link here to the dedicated Oloris sales page.  It is available in a variety of packages with a choice of art cards or print bundle options. Shipping of the book is expected to begin from May.

I'm extremely excited about the imminent release and will post related information once the book makes it's official arrival!


DALES OF A PERILOUS REALM: An exhibition of work by Artist John Cockshaw featuring a collaboration with Archaeologist Shaun Richardson.

Official Mill Bridge Gallery exhibition poster (above)
Opens 27th February - 9th April 2016.  Mill Bridge Gallery in Skipon, North Yorkshire.
One of the artist's own designs for a promotional poster for the exhibition is shown below:


It has lately been a long couple of months without any news updates but I'm very pleased, and this is literally just on the eve of the event itself, to announce a new exhibition of my work along with contributions from a very valued collaborator; Archaeologist Shaun Richardson.  "Dales of a Perilous Realm" takes an intriguing approach to JRR Tolkien-inspired art and combines photography, archaeology, drawing with a loving tribute to our favourite locations and beauty spots in the Yorkshire Dales.  The area wouldn't have been unknown to Tolkien considering he was based fairly close by during his time as Professor at The University of Leeds, but the show is very careful not to make any claims that Yorkshire directly inspired his creation of Middle-earth.

The press release for the exhibition is included on the next page:

INSIDE LOOK: "Dales of a Perilous Realm" Tolkien-inspired exhibition

The video here is a behind-the-scenes look at the latest exhibition of mine "Dales of a Perilous Realm" that opens in the scenic North Yorkshire town of Skipton on 27th February.  I discuss my collaboration with Archaeologist Shaun Richardson, the thinking behind the show and give a glimpse at the finishing touches made to the exhibition whilst it was being installed on-site at the gallery.


EXHIBITION REPORT: Evil in the Shining Light: Art inspired by the works of JRR Tolkien

Ten artists and writers.  One theme to bind them.

Soni Alcorn-Hender, Tomas Hijo, Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska, Jay Johnstone, 
Tsvetelina Krumova - Elmenel, Ted Nasmith, John Cockshaw, Archaeologist Shaun Richardson, 
Marcel Aubron-Bulles - The Tolkienist and Robert S. Malan. 

After an intensely busy four-month period of planning I can now proudly announce that my second exhibition as curator (in addition to artist) has opened.  In fact, it has open for just over ten days at the time of writing.  EVIL IN THE SHINING LIGHT: ART INSPIRED BY THE WORKS OF JRR TOLKIEN presented an ambitious project for me to oversee from its very conception.  It began as a proposal in response to a call for contributors from Bank Street Arts in Sheffield for their biannual book-arts festival 'Opening up the Book'.  Conceived as a two-part exhibition curated over two gallery rooms it ended up comprising three interlinked parts - and if ever there was an opportunity to try something brave and conceptual this was certainly it!

 The JRR Tolkien-inspired element of the exhibition mainly took place in a single gallery (Gallery 2 of Bank Street Arts) and featured a collective of exciting Tolkien-inspired artists working in varied media and all delving into Tolkien's Middle-earth writing to produce unique interpretations.  What is more, each artist was working to a double theme and brief; 'Evil in the Shining Light' and 'Opening up the Book'.  Being as open a brief as that was, it resulted in some startlingly original new work alongside existing artwork from the back catalogue of those involved.  Those involved (joining myself) were Soni Alcorn-Hender, Tomas Hijo, Katarzyna Chmiel-GugulskaJay Johnstone, Tsvetelina Krumova - Elmenel and Ted Nasmith.  Joining these artists were contributions from German writer Marcel Aubron-Bulles (aka The Tolkienist) and some inventive archaeological drawings referencing Weathertop by Archaeologist Shaun Richardson.  The interpretation of the title, and indeed the reason it was chosen, draws very much on its far-reaching quality; with it serving as a beginning from which many diverging threads may lead.  The presence of Sauron and the One Ring is evident in many pieces, as is Smaug in addition to implying the wretched motivations of Gollum but there is also the suggestion of danger/evil in other inanimate objects such as Galadriel's mirror of the Palantir discovered by Pippin at Isengard.  Also a theme of the exhibition is the threat of evil encroaching upon seemingly safe havens or the awesome and formidable power of nature, and also extended by referencing the actions of those who seek to counter the forces of evil; specifically Aragorn and Gandalf, the hobbits and Treebeard.

The second element of the exhibition (Gallery 3) broadens scope to include a video screening of THE SIGN OF THE SHINING BEAST  by writer Robert S. Malan and John Cockshaw.  This project, whilst exploring its own concerns of fractured narrative and the book forms of the graphic novel/ photo-roman, does possess a connection to Tolkien through its dream-like visual aesthetic in that it presents a series of hazy yet lucid visions to the viewer in the same vein as Galadriel's mirror or the aforementioned Palantir seeing stone.  Much of the imagery in the video does present the occasional allusion to scenes from The Lord of the Rings but yet much of it is also non-specific and even Sci-fi in reference.  A haunting soundtrack and eerie sound design accompanies the video and very effectively seeps into the adjoining gallery where the bulk of the Tolkien art is.

Thirdly, and connecting to the aesthetics of the video, its musical/sound design and extending the Tolkien-inspired reference is an exhibit covering one wall entitled ART FOR ASCENSION, DECLINE AND EVIL TIMES.  The concern here is a small collection of prints that directly reference and take inspiration from Howard Shore's epic scores for The Lord of the Rings films and the 2010 book that provides a scholarly analysis of these scores by Musicologist Doug Adams.  The art and suppporting text included in the exhibition is also acknowledged as first appearing in a two-part article of the same name by John Cockshaw for the film industry's premier film music magazine FILM SCORE MONTHLY ONLINE (Dec-Feb 2014/2015).

A feature and article on the exhibition in its finalised form will appear courtesy of The ScifiFantasyNetwork (SFFN) in the coming week or more.  A selection of exhibition photos offer a glance of the fully installed show.


Evil in the Shining Light: Exhibition video

Exhibition video for the JRR Tolkien-inspired show that opens in a little over three weeks.  Inspired artists and writers on show and lots of thought-provoking content.


The Great Music and The Flame Imperishable

A short video taking inspiration from JRR Tolkien's THE SILMARILLION with specific focus on the early  parts of AinulindalĂ« (Music of Ainur).  The focus is very much on visual representations of music, harmony, cosmic growth and the the beginning of the universe and precedes any personification of the Ainur or the pivotal discord.


EVIL IN THE SHINING LIGHT: Exhibition announcement for September 2015

The latest exhibition event I'm not only involved with but coordinating and curating got a great announcement recently here on scififantasynetwork.com.  The full press release, details and announcement video feature on this website and is presented very nicely (defeating the purpose of repeating it here).

Needless to say this upcoming project is something I'm very proud of and excited about!  Watch this space! 


Release announcement for July 2016: The Road, Taken

I'm very thrilled to post via Oloris Publishing the following announcement:

RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT: We are very honoured to announce that "The Road, Taken" by Janet Alvarez will be released on July 2nd, 2015! This collection is beautifully evocative and emotional, taking the reader on the fundamental journey of the hero. The deep, rich artistry of John Cockshaw / FineArtist accompanies Janet's poetry in a stunningly beautiful illustrated volume. A pre-order page will be available in May.

Illustrating and providing imagery for Janet's excellent poetry has been a rewarding experience over the past year and given that much of it is inspired by Middle-earth has allowed it to connect very well with the artwork produced and showcased on this blog.  This will not be the only book release I am attached to being released in July so I look forward to another imminent announcement soon.

The following link to the video below offers a glimpse of the Artwork accompanying the release of Janet's book featuring my readings of the poetry accompanying the imagery.  Enjoy!



New work update: The Ascent of Darkness

Vision of the Tower of Evil

Voics from the Throat of the Night

Journey To The Cross-Roads...

An update here has been due for some time and the lack of one has been down to the moving of all things Art-wise in many directions (which I will explain) but also many roads that have been winding away simultaneously are now near to converging at the same spot.  I do love speaking in riddles...but this is all to say that things are kicking into gear for the coming summer months.  I'm weathering for an exciting time ahead.  July in particular.  But more on that later.  Soon.  Hopefully.

March 25th, as usually falls on the Tolkienist's calendar, is Tolkien Reading Day and once again I had the pleasure of having a piece of artwork featured on Mechtild's LiveJournal in a post commemorating this anniversary featuring two poems by the excellent poet Janet Nelson-Alvarez.  Many thanks to Linda Bachman and Janet Alvarez for this second opportunity to mark this date on the Tolkien calendar in such a great way.

As a slight departure from my JRR Tolkien-inspired work I had the great fortune of being interviewed with Writer Robert S. Malan on a collaborative video project that we've entered into a select handful of Film Festivals during 2015.  The Sign of the Shining Beast is a 12 minute short with strong Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Art Film influences and presents an enigmatic and unsettling meditation on dreams, vision and prophecy.

The interview here was featured as a cover story on the launch date for a brand new Arts/Fandom/Genre website www.scififantasynetwork.com.  Rob and myself are embarking on further exciting collaborative work that will be touched upon here from time to time also.