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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


Speak, friend, and enter...

The riddle at the Doors of Durin (The Walls of Moria)
Source photographic elements: miniature-scale photography at Fraisthorpe Beach, East Yorkshire and woodland elements in Ripon, North Yorkshire. Figures derived from photography taken on an expedition up Tryfn in Snowdonia National Park

On the edge of Mirkwood...

Dol Guldur (The Hill of Sorcery)
Dol Guldur (The Hill of Sorcery) 2nd variation
Source photographic elements: Botallack near St. Just in West Cornwall, The Great Flot Lode Trail nr Camborne in Cornwall and Austrian landscape near the Italian border


Cornish press say 'Look closely and you might see Bilbo Baggins!'

Cornish newspaper West Briton and website This is Cornwall feature 4 images from the collection that take specific inspiration from the rugged Tolkienesque landscape of West Cornwall with a nice little artist quote by myself

Many thanks West Briton and This Cornwall!


Yorkshire Tolkien artist in local North Yorks press

Thursday 13th December: A page 4 feature in the Harrogate Advertiser and Ripon Gazette puts the focus on the local landscape I've used when finding influence to create pieces from the collection. Here Minas Tirith, featuring a hero shot of St. Peter's Church in Harrogate, gets a nice prominent picture.


A message makes its way across Middle-earth...

The Lighting of the Beacons

Source photographic elements: Mountain photography in Innsbruch, Austria with additional fire elements


Publicity feature on On:Yorkshire magazine website

My campaign to build a reputation as Yorkshire's Tolkien artist continues with a nice feature and image gallery on the website of the cultural magazine On:Yorkshire. Thanks to editor Matt Callard for liking the Yorkshire link in the art and the quick turnaround of the article on Friday afternoon. The link can be viewed below: http://www.on-magazine.co.uk/yorkshire/yorkshire-features/yorkshire-tolkien-artist/


November addition #2 Variations on a theme of Minas Tirith

Minas Tirith, Citadel of Gondor
Minas Tirith burns under the watch of The Nazgul

Source photographic elements: Cligga Head near Cape Cornwall, Carn Brea near Redruth in Cornwall, Ripon Cathedral, Nottingham Castle and St. Peter's Church, Harrogate.

November addition #1 A Knife in the Dark...

The Ringwraiths arrive at Bree
Finally finished, this scene of approaching night-time doom in the sleepy location of Bree matches the forbidding menace that I had in mind.

Source photographic elements: The market square of Ripon and historic buildings near Nottingham Castle. The Ringwraiths are composed from photographic horse and rider elements taken in Tunisia.


Fantastic coverage arrives courtesy of TheOneRing.net

Excitement had been mounting steadily...and then on Sunday the 18th November a news article and artist interview arrived, going live on none other than theonering.net the fan site for and forged by fans of J.R.R Tolkien. It's fantastic to get this kind of coverage for the work amongst a community of Tolkien fans - simply thrilling!
The full news article and artist Q&A can be read here.


Online news feature courtesy of www.thehobbitmovie.co.uk - a fansite

Read the feature here and their link to my work on their Facebook page. A very enjoyable interview to do and a superb opportunity to have the work exposed to LOTR and Hobbit fans. The organiser of the site will shortly be featured in an article in The Independent concerning Hobbit-related events for fans in anticipation of the first new film opening here in the UK.

My artist page has now been updated on The Rapture Gallery website to accommodate the collection and its availability. Please note, work will not be on display at the venue until the end of November / start of December but is available to purchase anytime through the site.


Arrival of first set of prints from the collection

The first set of 6 Fine Art prints from the collection are ready and waiting to go to The Rapture Gallery in Harrogate, a local gallery with a range of distinctive work by artists in the locality. These should be at the gallery some time at the back end of November after the current one-man show comes to a close (date tbc)
Seen here with the prints is a framed set of 3 images with further framed variations to follow
A specially printed brochure for From Mordor to the Misty Mountains to supplement the edition of my main artist brochure (to be updated shortly for 2013)


Insight into working process: 'before and After' comparison #1

November is here, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a short wait away and excitement for Tolkien fans is building. Exciting things are happening also and in the pipeline for this very collection, but more about this will be revealed later. Whilst I'm busy at work with some new additions for the From Mordor to the Misty Mountains collection, I thought a post revealing an aspect of my working process might be of interest:
Lost in Emyn Muil
Miniature-scale photography is a key component of the compositions and will often form the root that everything else is built upon. For Emyn Muil this photograph of tree-bark immediately took on an impression of a vertiginous mountain ridge, and a perfect foundation to create a scene of Frodo and Sam's struggle over this desolate terrain.
Aftermath at Isengard and The Tower of Orthanc
With the Tower of Orthanc, a rusty post wedged in the sand on Saltburn Beach in Yorkshire provided a hint of a likeness to Saruman's dwelling. Care was taken in the final image to mask the look of rusted metal as The Tower of Orthanc is indeed built of stone. However, this problem is somewhat solved by the scale issue anyway.


The Western Mountains of Mordor

The Morgul Pass reveals The Tower of Cirith Ungol
A companion piece to the image that appears later in the main collection (see below) offering a more isolated and distant view of the perilous orc tower where Frodo and Sam are headed, and where the faithful Sam will later advance by himself to save his captured friend.

Source photographic elements: Fraisthorpe Beach, East Yorkshire and Baildon and Ilkley Moors, West Yorkshire.


Many Meetings: a new addition to mark the arrival of Autumn

Encounter in a Woodland Glade
Encounter in a Woodland Glade 2nd variation
Encounter in a Woodland Glade 3rd variation
I couldn't resist this new addition to the collection after being inspired by the breath-taking colours of Autumn. The story depiction of the meeting couple here is really open to interpretation and the post title of Many meetings could refer to either Beren and Luthien or Aragorn and Arwen. But that depends on whether you go with the mortal and elf-kind view or a strictly mortal view, in which case it could even be Arathorn and Gilraen or perhaps Faramir and Eowyn. When composing the image I also thought of the touching story of John Ronald (J.R.R.Tolkien) and his wife Edith's first meeting. Its significance is also closer to home in that it was composed to mark my third wedding anniversary to Elizabeth on the 24th October (who appears here on the right well-disguised, and indeed in a small number of other compositions).

Source photographic elements: Hell Wath, Quarry Moor and Newby Hall Gardens (statue photography) near Ripon, North Yorkshire and Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire


Hearing its master's call...

The History of The Ring
This newly completed image has been in draft form for a while, lying silently unfinished until now...when the right atmospheric elements were finally added! The major driving force behind this composition goes back to Howard Shore's score and his musical representation for The One Ring, which carries a number of motifs that seek to anthropomorphosize the object and mirror its circular shape. My intention for this depiction of the Ring was suggesting its sentient quality, the awakening quality of the Ring and depict an early moment in its journey.

Source photographic elements: Llandudno, North Wales and Baildon Moor, West Yorkshire. The Ring in this composition (and in all that follow) comes from photography of my wedding ring, which is a little nod to the fact that Producer Rick Porras of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy felt suitably attached to his wedding ring to want to put it forward as the standard model for the One Ring on screen. Thanks to Elizabeth Cockshaw for allowing the ring to be photographed in a variety of locations...although I only sought her blessing after the fact!


Latest addition to the collection takes us deep into Moria...

The Mines of Moria (Peril approaches the Fellowship in Dwarrowdelf)

Taking inspiration from two different versions of Alan Lee's concept for this scene, I wanted to suggest the fire-fuelled menace of the approaching Balrog and the cavernous quality of the Dwarf halls of Dwarrowdelf. Additionally, I thought creating a stony surface texture would nicely suit the deep rocky location of Moria. Another element that informed this illustration was Howard Shore's initial mock-up music for Moria that was written in the early planning stages for scoring the LOTR trilogy. This music and other tracks were released on a rarities CD accompanying Doug Adam's 2010 book The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films which in turn accompanies an informative blog (www.musicoflotr.com) I've been following along with other like-minded fans of the music for many years.

Source photographic elements: Ripon Spa Baths (architectural details), Ampitheatre at El Jem in Tunisia, Kilham in East Yorkshire


The collection of artwork is showcased below as separate blog posts with new additions to be posted upon completion.
The Shire (early in the morning of 22nd September)
The Shire (early in the morning of 22nd September) 2nd variation

Source photographic elements: Grounds of Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey near Ripon (North Yorkshire) and various locations / rustic elements also from Ripon.
The Stronghold of Barad-dur and The Fires of Mount Doom
The Stronghold of Barad-dur and The Fires of Mount Doom 2nd variation

Source photographic elements: Porthleven in Cornwall, Austrian Mountains, Northumberland and architectural elements in Edinburgh.
My Precious (found in The Gladden River)

Source photographic elements: River and woodland in Ripon (North Yorkshire)
The Misty Mountains

Source photographic elements: Austrian Mountains, Cornish coast near Falmouth and Snowdonia National Park in North Wales
Gollum's Cave
2nd variation: The One Ring

Source photographic elements: Fraisthorpe Beach (East Yorkshire Coast)

Source photographic elements: Woodland near the Helford River in Cornwall and Horse and rider element in Tunisia.
The House of Tom Bombadil

Source photographic elements: Tehidy Woods in Cornwall and woodland in Worcester
Campfire at the Watchtower of Amon Sul (Weathertop)
Rivendell the House of Elrond (a glimpse is caught in the moonlight)

Source photographic elements (Watchtower of Amon Sul): North York Moors and Isle of Skye. Source photographic elements (Rivendell): Isle of Skye, Austrian Mountains, The Spa Hotel in Ripon and Nunnington Hall near Helmsley (North Yorkshire).
The Pass of Caradhras (The Ring Goes South)

Source photographic elements: Ripon (North Yorkshire) and Austrian Mountain landscape
The Bridge of Khazad-Dum (Gandalf confronts the Balrog)
The Bridge of Khazad-Dum (Gandalf confronts the Balrog) 2nd variation

Source photographic elements: Tunisia, Northumberland, Isle of Skye, East Yorkshire Coast
Lothlorien (Lady Galadriel walks in these woods)

Source photographic elements: Exmouth (East Devon), Tehidy Woods in Cornwall and Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire.
The Mirror of Galadriel

Source photographic elements: Ripon in North Yorkshire and Cornwall
The Fellowship journey down the River Anduin

Source photographic elements: The River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey, West Yorkshire
Lost in Emyn Muil (Frodo and Sam)

Source photographic elements: Exmouth area of East Devon and Cornwall
Gollum lurks in Emyn Muil (on the trail of the Hobbits)

Source photographic elements: Snowdonia National Park, North Wales
The Passage of the Dead Marshes

Source photographic elements: Full-scale and miniature-scale photography in Cornwall
Fangorn Forest (Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold)

Source photographic elements: Ripon (North Yorkshire). Treebeard digitally composed from a variety of full-scale and miniature-scale tree and bark photography.
Rohan 1st variation: Edoras and the Golden hall of Meduseld
Rohan 1st variation: Edoras and the Golden hall of Meduseld 2nd variation

Source photographic elements: Austrian landscape, Baildon Mooor (West Yorkshire), Edinburgh Architecture. Edoras miniature scale photography of hill mound taken near Cape Cornwall