A collection of letters and intimate photos that offer a glimpse into J.R.R Tolkien’s private world has been made available for purchase.

Pamela Chandler, a society photographer took these images of the very private Lord of the Rings author, relaxing in his garden and study with Edith.

The image is one of Tolkien’s personal hand-drawn maps of Middle Earth that he took in his studio. This map was used to create The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Pamela has also included photos of Rayner unwin from her archive. Rayner was a 10-year-old who read The Hobbit’s manuscript for the first time.

According to Tolkien legend, Stanley Unwin was convinced by his son’s review of the 1936 tale that he would make it into a book. 

Pictured: An archive of intimate photographs and letters that provide a rare glimpse into J.R.R Tolkien's secretive world have emerged for sale and are expected to fetch at least £25,000 when they go under the hammer at auction in Essex next month

Pictured: An archive of intimate photographs and letters that provide a rare glimpse into J.R.R Tolkien’s secretive world have emerged for sale and are expected to fetch at least £25,000 when they go under the hammer at auction in Essex next month

Private: The collection of photographs was captured by society photographer Pamela Chandler at Tolkien's home in 1961

Private: This collection was taken by Pamela Chandler, a society photographer who visited Tolkien’s house in 1961.

Lord of the Rings author Tolkien was famously private and so the photos offer a glimpse into his world and his family life

Tolkien, Lord of the Rings author was notoriously secretive. The photos give a peek into his life and family.

Pictured: A letter from J.R.R Tolkien to Pamela Chandler in 1961 to arrange the photography session at his home

Pictured is a 1961 letter written by J.R.R Tolkien and sent to Pamela Chandler to organize the photograph session at his house.

Rayner’s comments may not have allowed for the Lord of the Rings trilogy to be written.

Pamela’s talent and reputation earned her photographic commissions from famous sixties royalty, celebrities, and literary majors.

In 1961, she was given the task of producing portraits for the famedly camera-shy writer.

Pamela convinced him and they became good friends throughout their lives.

1966 saw her invited back to Oxfordshire by the couple to photograph candid moments. 

The images of the intensely private author were taken while he was relaxing at home. Pictured: Tolkien in his study in 1961

Images of Tolkien, an extremely private writer, were captured while he was at home relaxing. Photographed by Tolkien, 1961 in his bedroom.

Pictured: J.R.R Tolkien and his wife Edith in their garden in 1966

J.R.R Tolkien in his study

Pamela took portraits of her husband in 1961 (right) and was then invited to return to their home in 1966 to photograph the couple (left).

The archive includes photos of Rayner Unwin, who, as a 10-year-old, was the first person to read the manuscript of The Hobbit

The archive also includes photographs of Rayner unwin (10 years old) who was the first to see The Hobbit’s manuscript.

JRR Tolkien: Who were you? Oxford professor, who was a soldier in the Somme and wrote The Hobbit. 

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was a South African born in 1892, and moved to England as a child. 

He grew up in Sarehole, in Birmingham, and went on to became a Professor at Oxford University where he studied Old and Middle English.

Tolkien created his own languages while at university. However, when World War I broke out he enlisted to be a second lieutenant with the Lancashire Fusiliers. He was subsequently involved in the Battle of the Somme.

Due to illness, he was finally released.

He wrote an interesting line when he was returning to Oxford from the war and was grade-grading papers. 

The Hobbit book became his most well-known work, with the line becoming a bestseller. He also wrote The Lord of the Rings.

Stories from fantasy land were included in the books, partly inspired by European myths. Every country had their own maps, legends and language.    

It was called Middle-earth by him and it was home to men, women, elves and dwarves.

The Hobbit, published before the famous Trilogy in 1937. 

Part one of the series, The Fellowship of the Ring was published in 1954, while The Two Towers and The Return of the King followed in 1955.  

Tolkien’s four children were three daughters, three sons, and a girl. All carried on the legacy of his father after his death in 1973. 


Pamela was buried in 1993. Her archive of photographs, negatives and other correspondence went to her sister.

Reeman Dansie Auctioneers in Colchester has placed it on the market. It is expected to sell for more than £25,000.

A group of 64 black-and-white negatives from the Tolkien Original Shoots is up for sale with copyright. This means that the winning bidder will get a regular income every time they’re published.

They are valued at £10,000.

Pamela’s correspondence includes correspondence she received from Tolkien as well his wife.

The signed letters, valued at £2,500 each, contain ‘delightful Tolkienisms’, updates on his state of health and the couple’s plans for birthdays and Christmases.

One thing that he did not emphasize is the importance of his private life.

Pamela received a letter from him describing how he felt about the ‘impertinent invasion into my privacy’ in a newspaper article.

Reeman Dansie Auctioneers’ Daniel Wright said that Pamella Chandler was a pioneer in professional photography, which is still dominated by men.

“The entire archive spans her career. But the Tolkien material is most fascinating because it is private and he didn’t enjoy publicity.

“She became his favorite photographer after he met her and his wife.

These letters, called “Tolkien Letters”, are very rare and highly desirable.

“There are six in the collection. The one that is most interesting has an unusual Tolkien phrase. Pamela is told by him that he wants her to “catching up with arrows”.

Tolkien, in a letter dated December 27, 1966, stated that prints taken from his photo shoot had been given to family members as Christmas gifts.

He stated that the images were a joy to the eyes of all the members of his family.

Edith wrote a January 8th 1967 letter in which she referred to her husband, “The Professor”, who required frequent breaks from brain-work and other activities.

Pictured: A professional portrait of J.R.R Tolkien in his study taken in 1961

Pictured: J.R.R Tolkien in his garden in 1966

Pictured are two professional portraits of Tolkien (left and right) as well as a candid photograph of Tolkien taken in his garden in 1966

Pictured: A letter from J.R.R Tolkien sent to society photographer Pamela Chandler in 1961

Pictured: Pamela Chandler received a letter from J.R.R Tolkien in 1961

Pamela also kept notebooks in the archive, which describe the Tolkiens and her love for them as the “most adorable people I could ever care to meet”;

Tolkien was 81 years old when he died at his Dorset holiday home, Poole. Edith was 82 when she died.

This archive will go on sale December 1.