With the opening of the exhibition now only three months away, pressure is building on the various teams within the library, tasked with making this a block-buster exhibition.
Although it is an incredibly busy time, it is also tremendously exciting to see so many different aspects of the exhibition coming to fruition. The exhibition catalogue, produced by a dedicated team in Bodleian Library Publishing, went to the printer in Italy last week and is now rolling off the presses. In addition to the catalogue there will be a range of Tolkien products on sale in the Bodleian’s two shops and in their online store.
There was much excitement last week when samples of the retail products arrived at the library. Alexandra Colton, Head of Retail Operations, at the Bodleian and her team have been working tirelessly to develop and license a wonderful range of products based on Tolkien’s artwork.
Over the last 12 months, the team has designed an array of beautiful objects to appeal to everyone, from the most ardent Tolkien fan to the merely curious visitor. From tote bags and tea-towels to journals and jewellery, there will be items priced to suit every pocket.
Here are some of my favourites.
- A small jigsaw featuring Tolkien’s painting of the dragon Smaug lying on his treasure hoard conceals its own hidden treasure: small pieces shaped like a goblet, an axe and a hunting horn.
- Delicate, round, ceramic ear-rings based on Tolkien’s circular, heraldic device for his Elven princess, Lúthien.
- A plump cushion featuring Tolkien’s wonderful painting of Bilbo arriving at the Raft-elves village is backed with soft grey velvet.
- A silk scarf printed with Tolkien’s watercolour illustration of The Merking’s Palace displays to advantage the wonderful spectrum of pastel colours in the painting.
These exclusive products have been specially designed to feature items in the exhibition and will only be on sale in the Bodleian’s shops. The products will be available from 1st June 2018 when the exhibition opens to the public.