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JRR Tolkien & Edith [Bratt] Tolkien
JRR Tolkien & Edith [Bratt] Tolkien,
photographed by Pamela Chandler.
©Pamela Chandler

The rare images of J.R.R. Tolkien which caused a sensation at auction

Country Life } Annunciata Elwes

In 1961, Pamela Chandler was sent to photograph the notoriously camera-shy J. R. R. Tolkien. Chandler was a Society photographer, the daughter of a famous conjurer and ventriloquist, and the first woman to photograph a Prime Minister when she was commissioned to take a portrait of Harold Macmillan. A couple of dozen of her images are part of the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, including the 1960 Macmillan image.

But it was the 1961 job, some six years after the final volume of the Lord of the Rings triology [sic] was published, whose ripples were felt at an auction last month. Chandler became fast friends with Tollers’ and his wife, … writing in her journal that the Tolkiens were the most adorable people you could care to meet and I can never think of one without the other’.…

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date recorded 📅2022-01-14
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