Tolkien fans won't want to miss this Middle-Earth exhibition in Basingstoke

A rare first edition of The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien at The magic of middle-earth Exhibition in Basingstoke

A rare first edition of The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien at The Magic of Middle-Earth Exhibition in Basingstoke. - Credit: Dan Wilson Photography

J.R.R Tolkien's fantastical tales of dragons, elves and wizards have captured the minds of millions and his novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have shaped the entire Fantasy genre. Now in an exhibition at Basingstoke's Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, you can explore the magic of Middle-Earth through over 200 rare collectables brought together by collector and curator Matt Fox.

This wonderful exhibition is free and will be running between July 30th and October 16th from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. There is so much to see for the whole family, and Tolkien fans, big and small, will no doubt find themselves completely enthralled by all the exciting pieces of memorabilia on display, including a first edition copy of The Hobbit that was published as 1 of 1,500 copies in 1937!

The Magic of Middle-Earth exhibition explores the fantastic fantasy world J.R.R Tolkien crafted over a lifetime 

The Magic of Middle-Earth exhibition explores the fantastic fantasy world J.R.R Tolkien crafted over a lifetime - Credit: Dan Wilson Photography

J.R.R Tolkien wrote his Middle-Earth stories as if they were myths and legends for England in a similar vein to the Old-English epic Beowulf or the Norse sagas The Prose Edda and The Poetic Edda. It is perhaps because of this intention that his stories continue to amaze, also for the fact that they contain age-old themes of good vs evil and show a deep appreciation for the natural world.

Even now, Tolkien's work is continually inspiring creators, the very DNA of his meticulously crafted fantasy world can be seen throughout the fantasy genre, and the upcoming Amazon TV series set in Middle-Earth before the events of The Lord of The Rings has become one of the most expensive TV shows ever made!

The Magic of Middle-Earth exhibition at Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery in Basingstoke, Hampshire

The Magic of Middle-Earth exhibition at Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery in Basingstoke, Hampshire - Credit: Dan Wilson Photography

On how he fell in love with Tolkien's Middle-Earth sagas, collector Matt Fox said, “My earliest childhood memory of Middle-earth was the audio cassette of The Hobbit, which I would request on long car journeys. My eyes may have been blankly gazing at motorway traffic, but my mind was abuzz with dwarves and dragons, goblins and Gollum."

Fox continued with, "I think the real magic of Middle-earth is how it feels so alive. It has a powerful sense of the perpetual, and readers soon become attuned to Middle-earth and can imagine things proceeding beyond the page. This makes it a Minecraft-like toolbox for creators of all types; writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, game designers. This exhibition seeks to curate and celebrate that artistic legacy and showcase the many ways it has been envisioned since Tolkien first penned those famous words “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit….”

For more information about The Magic of Middle-Earth exhibition, visit the Hampshire Cultural Trust website.

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