|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Tuesday, April 20, 2021
|Barbara Remington, illustrator of Tolkien book covers, dies at 90|
Barbara Remington designed paperback covers for all three books of The Lord of the Rings without having read them. I didnt know what they were about, she later admitted. I had sketchy information at best.
by Julia Carmel
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE ).- Barbara Remington, the illustrator who created the most widely recognized covers for J.R.R. Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit which she quickly executed before she even had the chance to read the books died Jan. 23 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. She was 90.
Her longtime friend John Bromberg said the cause was breast cancer.
Though the covers of the first editions of The Lord of the Rings had illustrations by various artists, including Tolkien himself, the ones that Remington created for the paperback versions published by Ballantine Books were the ones that achieved mass-cult status in the 1960s, particularly on college campuses.
Remington, who designed other book covers for Ballantine as well, was asked to illustrate the 1965 editions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit on a tight deadline.
Ballantine was in a hurry to get these books out right away, she said in an interview for the literary journal Andwerve. When they commissioned me to do the artwork, I didnt have the chance to see either book, though I tried to get a copy through my friends.
So I didnt know what they were about, she continued. I tried finding people that had read them, but the books were not readily available in the states, and so I had sketchy information at best.
As a result, there were some missteps in the initial illustrations.
When Tolkien saw the fruit tree, he asked, What are pumpkins doing in a tree? Of course they werent pumpkins, but he wasnt sure what they were, Remington said. He was especially perplexed about the lion on the cover because there are no lions in the story. He requested that Ballantine remove the lions from the cover, so they painted them over for later books.
Remington also illustrated a mock travel poster, titled Welcome to Middle-earth, to accompany Ballantines Rings trilogy.
She went on to do other cover illustrations, including for childrens books and for Susan Wylers cookbook Cooking From a Country Farmhouse.
She was also an illustrator for Alfred Hitchcocks Mystery Magazine in the 1960s and for the popular childrens educational magazine Highlights.
While working as a freelance illustrator, she also did whatever else she could to make ends meet. She designed costumes for the theater, did holiday store window displays for Tiffany, ushered at Carnegie Hall and, she told Andwerve, worked on a yacht to go on free trips to Marthas Vineyard.
It was, she added, a great deal of fun.
Barbara Remington was born on June 23, 1929, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father, Heckel Warren Remington, known as Heck, was an artist who painted landscapes; her mother, Marguerite (Robinson) Remington, known as Pete, was described by her family as a political activist.
Remington and her brother, Bob, grew up in St. Paul. She moved to Chicago in the early 1950s and later returned to Minnesota for a job as a gallery guard at Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis. While working there, she met her future first husband, Robert Tweedy, who played timpani for the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra.
They moved to Central City, Colorado, where Remington worked steadily as a freelance artist and illustrator. After divorcing Tweedy in 1954, she moved to New York City and joined Lower Manhattans beatnik scene, befriending people like the poets Allen Ginsberg and Lionel Ziprin.
She married Edward Preston in the late 1960s, and they opened the Boggle Shop in the East Village, selling homemade crafts and supplies. Remington and Preston divorced in the late 1970s. She was later married to Brian Brughbinder; that marriage also ended in divorce, after 13 years.
While living in a loft on East 17th Street, Remington welcomed anyone who needed a place to stay artists, musicians, Union Square Farmers Market vendors and members of a traveling circus, among others.
She spent plenty of time at the nearby nightclub Maxs Kansas City sketching performers. In a 2018 profile, The Scranton Times-Tribune wrote that Remington drew Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel rehearsing at the Palladium in Manhattan in 1983 and befriended aerialist Philippe Petit, who became famous for his tightrope walk between the World Trade Centers towers in 1974.
After decades of living in New York, Remington moved to Thompson, Pennsylvania, where she became part of a Northeastern Pennsylvania community of artists and writers.
No immediate family members survive.
Though Remington regretted being unable to read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit before illustrating them, she was ultimately happy with the way her artwork came out.
After reading his work, I was in awe of Tolkien, she said. I knew there was something special about him. If I read The Lord of the Rings first, I dont think I could have drawn the cover art.
© 2020 The New York Times Company
February 17, 2020
Palmer Museum of Art premieres brilliant exhibition of African art
Largest retrospective exhibition ever staged about Anna Ancher on view in Copenhagen
The Rolling Stones Bill Wyman's bass guitars, amps, wardrobe & memorabilia head to Julien's Auctions
Schirn Kunsthalle opens a major survey devoted to the women artists of Surrealism
Jordan Casteel won't let you look away
Valuable, rare early American coin found in French flea market junk box
Rarely-seen stain and collaged paintings from 1958-1962 by Romare Bearden on view at DC Moore Gallery
The wild, anti-authoritarian art of Peter Saul
"Measure Your Existence", a group exhibition about impermanence opens at the Rubin Museum
Russian artist, partner held over sex tape that sank Macron ally
Alexander Berggruen opens an exhibition of works by Paul Kremer
Fashion designer Alexander McQueen archive of rare early work to go under the hammer
SFMOMA opens major career retrospective of influential photographer Dawoud Bey
Exhibition features portrait paintings by Spanish artist Luis Burgos
Fine art from the estate of Eunis and Douglas Goodan heads to auction
The Nancy Glenn Collection of Hermès scarves & shawls goes up for bid at Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Museum of Fine Arts Boston appoints new Contemporary Curatorial Assistants
Michener Art Museum launches revamped Bucks County artists database
The IMMA Collection: Freud Project presents a new research programme exploring The Artist's Studio
Archive of studio photographs from Apartheid-era South Africa offered at Bonhams
Solo exhibition by New York based artist Kayode Ojo opens at Praz-Delavallade
Barbara Remington, illustrator of Tolkien book covers, dies at 90
A.E. Hotchner, writer and friend of the famous, dies at 102
2020 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture awarded to Grafton Architects
A revolutionary approach to Beethoven: Period instruments
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.