Of the two images created for a potential edition of The Hobbit that would be illustrated by Maurice Sendak, this is the only survivor. Why did it never happen? A series of unfortunate events.
Tolkien himself didn’t like people referring to The Hobbit as a children’s book, since it was contrary to his intentions for the novel. So, he wasn’t too keen on associating an edition with a famous children’s book author. And when the two proposal drawings arrived mislabeled (by an editor, not by Sendak), referring to some dancing wood-elves as dancing Hobbits, Tolkien accused Sendak of not reading the book. Sendak was insulted by this, but their publisher attempted to smooth things over and got the two creators to agree to meet. The day before their scheduled meeting, Sendak had his first heart attack and was in hospital recovering for weeks. The two never managed to talk to each other face-to-face and the proposed deal fell apart.
And that is why, sadly, This Doesn’t Exist.
(Full story at Hero Complex.)
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