Fridays at the Mathom-House: Anke Eissmann

The Mathom-house it was called; for anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a ‘mathom’.
–The Fellowship of the Ring; Prologue 

Seven days done and now it's time for a batch of amazing Tolkien art. Yes, good reader, it's that time again: Fridays at the Mathom-house. This week we'll be showcasing the art of Anke Eissmann, who's website has an awesome section dedicated to her Tolkien art. Anke's art caught my eye because of her use of traditional mediums like watercolor and pen-and-ink, instead of the digital art you see everywhere nowadays. In fact, her watercolor paintings remind a lot of Tolkien's own watercolors. So, limber up your scroller-finger and sit back to enjoy some great Hobbit art:

Durin's Day

The first set of images below are all taken from scenes in the Hobbit. Anke's use of pen and ink is great . . . they're in a style that feels older, like they could have been included in an early illustrated copy of the Hobbit. The use of black and red harkens back to the fold-out maps in some copies of LOTR and the Silmarillion, which were done by Christopher Tolkien in the same color.

Bilbo Baggins


Thorin Oakenshield

This rendition of Thorin is one of my favorites . . . it really captures the secretive nature of the dwarf.



The rest of these images come from the Lord of the Rings . . . but these watercolors are so good I couldn't resist putting them in. Notice all the little details in the painting of Gandalf below . . . the White Tree of Gondor and the Star of Feanor (at least, I think that's what it is). Like I mentioned above, these watercolors are really reminiscent of Tolkien's own paintings . . . and also of Alan Lee's work, but at the same time the subject matter is fresh enough that they don't seem derivative.

Gandalf in the archives of Minas Tirith

Tom Bombadil

Escaping from the Black Riders

Balin's Tomb


  1. I really liked some of these as well, in particular Bilbo, and Thorin (no real surprise there!) As you said, it sums him up very well (strong, slightly paranoid, and confrontational) with nothing but a trichromatic scheme, in a tiny square space.

    Oh, and the Elvenking looks like a total pissypants, which I think he is! :-)

    1. Yeah, the garland thingy doesn't really help the Elven King out . . . I'd imagine its kinda hard to intimidate the likes of Thorin when your hair is braided with flowers,