Sunday 18 July 2021

FORTY YEARS ON... Eric Fraser's LORD OF THE RINGS radio art: Week 20


The twentieth episode of the BBC's radio dramatisation of The Lord of the Rings was broadcast on this day, forty years ago, and the serialisation entered the home straight of its twenty-six parts with 'The Siege of Gondor'.

In publishing the original art of Eric Fraser's illustration to accompany the billing for this episode in The Radio Times, I want to comment on the discipline under which Fraser produced these small decorations.  

As a regular artist for the BBC's listings magazine, he was especially well-versed with the demand for illustrations required to fit within specific column-width dimensions and with the absolute requirement for his work having to "read" at a very small scale. 

The original art I have been reproducing here over the past five months were drawn 9.5 x 1.5 centimeters (3 x 1.5 inches) and were then reduced for reproduction in print to just 1.2 x 3.2 centimeters (or 1.5 x 0.5 inches). Bearing in mind the size of the art – and the size at which it was eventually published – I think of these little black-and-white drawings as mini-masterpieces.


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