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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


Beyond the woodland...monochrome series collection #4

Aftermath, high towers, open country and moments of quiet reflection are the subject of this latest post. New pieces appear for the first time alongside monochrome variants of previous works that are allowed a fresh presentation when drained of colour.

A weary road far from home

Open country: feet of the westward slopes
(View towards the watchtower)

‘The hills drew nearer.  They made an undulating ridge, often rising almost to a thousand feet, and here and there falling again to low clefts or passes leading into the eastern land beyond.  Along the crest of the ridge the hobbits could see what looked to be the remains of green-grown walls and dikes, and in the clefts there still stood the ruins of old works of stone.  By night they had reached the feet of the westward slopes, and there they camped.  It was the night of the fifth of October, and they were six nights out from Bree.’

The Fellowship of the Ring Chapter 11 A Knife in the dark p.184/185
The Lord of the Rings Book I (J.R.R Tolkien)

Open country: pike from afar
Charcoal, pencil and oil

Aftermath at Isengard (a wizard's voice)

To the high tower over the trees (Beyond the woodland)

At the highest council
Of half-elven host
The Grey Pilgrim
Wise wizard
Of the
Tower of Stone
And the fate he befell

‘...in the midst of that valley is a tower of stone called Orthanc.  It was not made by Saruman, but by the Men of Numenor long ago; and it is very tall and has many secrets; yet it looks not to be a work of craft.  It cannot be reached save by passing the circle of Isengard; and in that circle there is only one gate.’

The Fellowship of the Ring Chapter 2 The council of Elrond p.258
The Lord of the Rings Book II (J.R.R Tolkien)

Encounter in a woodland glade monochrome variation

This meeting couple need not be disturbed
Speak of them if you wish
For it will make a nice game of identities...


Studies of the realm of Gondor #2

The Building of Minas Tirith

(combined full and miniature-scale photographic elements)

Before not too long I hope to drop in with a post about Hobbit Con 2 that took place over Easter weekend in Bonn, Germany and the fantastic opportunity I had to have some artwork featured in the event, but in the meantime the focus falls again on Gondor...

A sense of before and after...

Ruined arch and tower Osgiliath-inspired pencil study

This pencil study was produced to accompany The ruins of Osgiliath (the monochrome version of which is included below) and was based on an even quicker sketch with accompanying photographs taken at Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.  The site was extremely reminiscent of Osgiliath and from this small focus on the tower of the sketch sprung the idea for the remaining elements of the composition.  Many additional photographic expeditions were required before all the sources for the remaining elements were found - but this is truly the most exciting aspect of working in this way.

The ruins of Osgiliath monochrome variation

Studies of the realm of Gondor #1

On the battlefield woe remains

Creating a sense of the ruined aftermath upon the Pelennor was my main exploration of this piece (accompanied by its monochrome variation below).  I wanted to create a sense of destruction that was distant to the eye but anchored by remnants of masonary and charred detritus in the foreground; hoping that suggestion might unveil a whole manner of unspeakable horror beyond the frame.

Woe on the battlefield monochrome variation

‘Away to the eastward the distant fire flickered, and now it seemed that here and there they crept across the plain.  Houses and barns were burning.  The from many points little rivers of red flame came hurrying on, winding through the gloom, converging towards the line of the broad road that led from the City-gate to Osgiliath’
‘It drew now to evening by the hour, and the light was so dim that even far-sighted men upon the Citadel could discern little clearly out upon the fields, save only the burnings that ever multiplied, and the lines of fire that grew in length and speed.’

The Return of the King Chapter 4 The Siege of Gondor p.819
The Lord of the Rings Book V (J.R.R Tolkien)


A precious kind of treachery...Monochrome series collection #3

Pertaining to the ring, its treacherous quality and the specific ties it has to Smeagol / Gollum is the focus for the latest collection of monochrome variations of existing full-colour pieces.  The bleaker and starker monochrome presentation adds a purposely chilling dimension to these photographic works.

The Finding of the ring

A secret only fire can tell

A wretched trail variation 1

A wretched trail variation 2

Cave of the precious

Forging of the ring


For the Fall of Sauron: Artwork features in 'Mechtild'

Exactly a week back it was March 25th or Tolkien Reading Day and Tolkien-related reading, events and commemorations are entered into by Tolkienists, Tolkien enthusiasts and fanatics.  March 25th, on the calendar of events in The Lord of the Rings is the anniversary of The Fall of Sauron also known as the "day of hope" (as declared by Aragorn).

The Tolkien-focused journal Mechtild commemorated this anniversary with a potent and moving poem entitled Hope by Janet Alvarez (pen-name Jan-u-wine) along with a request to include two pieces of artwork of mine that reference Sauron's domain.

With thanks to Linda Backman aka 'Mechtild' and Janet Alvarez the full article from March 25th can be read below:


Cold country, fearful forest (inspired by Sir Gawain and the Green Knight)

A rare post here concerned not with Middle-earth but Arthurian legend, with specific focus on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  The link to Tolkien is clear on account of his translation of the legendary tale undertaken during the 1920's (published posthumously much later).  I'm forever drawn to alliterative verse and so keep returning to Sir Gawain, which will also be the case for Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur (published in 2013).  Similar to the inspiring aspects that The Lord of the Rings has on my artwork the catalyst that prompted me to embark on work inspired by this tale is the strength of the landscape writing.  My first discovery and my most favourite rendering of Sir Gawain is by Poet Simon Armitage whose presentation of the harsh natural landscape coupled with his mastery of colourful alliteration is a joy to behold.

Departing Knight

Gawain's travails in the forest