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J.R.R. Tolkien

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- set matching 'Photographs by Lord Snowdon'

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J.R.R. Tolkien

by Lord Snowdon
vintage bromide print, May 1971
10 3/4 in. x 10 5/8 in. (273 mm x 270 mm)
Purchased, 2000
Primary Collection
NPG P843

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Current affairs

The United Kingdom changes to the Decimal System for currency, getting rid of shillings, and guineas and simplifying the denomination of pounds into 100 pence. This brought the British pound sterling in line with other currencies and made computer calculation easier.

Art and science

Michael Caine stars in the filmGet Carter, a British crime classic about a man who sets out to get bloody revenge on the gangsters that killed his brother.


The Immigration Act consolidated previous legislation in order to limit immigration, by requiring applicants to hold a work permit and introduced the concept of right of abode.
In Uganda, Idi Amin overthrows President Milton Obote and becomes dictator.

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Steve Kitchen

09 January 2021, 18:23

I'm going through a lot of my old vinyl records and came across the coloured print of this within the sleeve of a LP by Swedish musician Bo Hansson with his musical take inspired by Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings. The sleeve offers the simple credit 'Snowden' for the picture. The record is dated 1972.

John Ralph

11 December 2020, 00:04

This portrait of J R R Tolkein was taken in 1972 by Lord Snowdon. The Middle Earth-like setting chosen as the location for the photograph was on the steep wooded slopes of Branksome Chine, just a very short distance from the author’s own home at the time -‘Woodridings’in Lakeside Rd on the Poole/Bournemouth border. The image was taken not long after the death of the author’s beloved wife Edith in 1971, and shortly before Tolkien’s own death in 1973. Colour versions of this image were also taken by Lord Snowdon at the time, with one being used as the book- jacket cover image for the 1977 Humphrey Carpenter biography of Tolkein. The location is now more heavily wooded by younger saplings, but can still be recognised by comparison with the original image, and some patient exploration.