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Thursday, 10 January 2013

Everyone's Tolkien about John's work

Two North Yorkshire art galleries are showing the work of an artist whose latest collection is causing excitement among Tolkien fans.

A selection of John Cockshaw's pieces from Mordor to the Misty Landscapes can be seen at Harrogate's Rapture and Ripon's HG4 galleries.

John, who has an abiding affection for the evocative landscape writing in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, has created an extensive photography project to coincide with the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. 

The collection has been popular with Tolkien fans, prompting interviews with the UK-based fan site and the hub of international Tolkien fans and followers of the movie adaptations.

The style of the Ripon-based fine artist has been described as resting somewhere between film cinematography and traditional watercolour.

He takes some inspiration from film maker Sir Peter Jackson's adaptations of the classic tales and says the beauty of the writer's fantasy world is echoed in local landscape. Examples he draws upon include Studley Royal, Nunnington Hall and the rustic charms of Helmsley and Ripon and its surrounding areas. 

He said: "For a fan like myself, I only need look to the rugged moors, sweeping vistas and tumbling hills to see hints of what inspired Tolkien to invent an extensive mythology fit for his home country.

"Viewpoint is incredibly important in the pieces too and informed by my love of walking, a pastime shared by so many Yorkshire dwellers, and so we see areas of Tolkien’s Middle-earth largely from the perspective of a foot walker traversing the given landscape spying far off towers and battlements or, where Tolkien’s characters are referenced, hiding just out of danger/eyesight but concealed enough to afford a good glimpse of what goes on nearby."

John has been exhibiting in Yorkshire since 2007. For his latest Tolkien-inspired project, he took his first steps into digital image manipulation, a process requiring a complete new set of working methods compared to setting up his stall as an oil painter.

The full collection is approaching fifty photographic compositions and this is set to expand further as he takes continued inspiration from Tolkien and the two future film releases.

Later this year, a further selection of work will head to Sarehole Mill in Birmingham, an integral and well-known location part of the city’s Tolkien Trail to go on show to coincide with its Middle-earth weekend celebrations over Easter.

John's work can be viewed online at