London: George Allen and Unwin, 1954, 1954, 1955. First edition. All first printings, with volume 3 in the first state. Finely bound by the Chelsea Bindery in full red morocco with gilt titles to spines and gilt Eye of Sauron stamped in gilt to front boards. All edges brightly gilt. Dark green endpapers. Housed in a matching leather entry slipcase. A scarce set, particularly in collectible condition, with just 3,000 copies of the first book, 3,250 of the second and 7,000 of the final book printed. All original maps intact.
A timeless classic and a cornerstone of the fantasy genre, The Lord of The Rings follows the adventures of the hobbit Frodo Baggins and his compatriots as they battle the Dark Lord Sauron, and attempt to destroy the ring that gives him power over Middle Earth. Tolkien began writing the novel when he was 45 and it took him 12 years to finish it. (The Lord of the Rings would not be published until 1955.) The books, which were inspired by Tolkien’s interest in subjects as far reaching as mythology and philology, went on to become a sensation – selling over 150 million copies and being translated into over 30 languages. W. H. Auden called The Lord of the Rings a “masterpiece”, and it has appeared on Le Monde’s list of the 100 best books of the century. The books were also adapted into the Oscar award winning film trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, and Viggo Mortensen. "Among the greatest works of imaginative fiction of the twentieth century" (Contemporary Sunday Telegraph Review). (Item #3906)