Tove Jansson and the Hobbit

  • 2 min read

During her career, Tove Jansson also illustrated books written by other prestigious authors. The two most important of these were illustrated in the 1960s, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Tove also illustrated Carroll’s book The Hunting of the Snark.

Unique opportunities to illustrate other’s books were interesting projects for Tove, and the illustrations were stunning and personal like Tove’s illustrations always were. However, they did not receive such a great reception at the time of publication; readers already had their own images in their minds of these classics. This means that good quality first editions of these books are now both rare and very valuable.

Tove illustrated both the Swedish and Finnish editions of J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic book The Hobbit. The first edition of the Swedish Bilbo – en hobbits äventyr was published in 1962 and the second in 1994. The first Finnish translation in 1973 was named Lohikäärmevuori while the next two editions in 2003 and 2011 were named Hobitti eli Sinne ja takaisin (after the original English language title; The Hobbit, or There and Back Again).

The Swedish translation of Alice i underlandet which Tove had illustrated was published in 1966 and again in 1983. The same illustrations also appeared in the Finnish edition Liisan seikkailut ihmemaassa in 1983. The American edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1977, the English edition in 2011 and the Norwegian edition Alice i Eventyrland in 2013.

By popular demand, Moomin Shop Camden now sells The Hobbit illustrated by Tove Jansson in a Finnish language hardback edition published by WSOY. We also sell the English language hardback editions of Alice In Wonderland and The Hunting Of The Snark, illustrated by Tove Jansson and published by Tate.