TOLKIEN'S BOOKSHELF #10: GRIMMS' FAIRY TALES In his essay 'On Fairy Stories', Tolkien made specific mention of the brothers Grimm. The brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, together travelled rural Germany collecting and publishing old, traditional folktales. They are among the most well-known storytellers of German folklore. Their first collection, 'Children's and Household Tales', was published in 1812. In the nineteenth century Europe, Britain and the British colonies experienced a flowering of Romanticism in the form of art, architecture, poetry, literature, folklore and folk tales. The latter, in particular, played a major role in the development of Tolkien's Middle-earth mythology. Tolkien mined the folklore of the Grimm brothers for literary gems. In his essay he mentioned his love of a tale in this collection by the name of 'The Juniper Tree' (renamed 'The Almond Tree' for British audiences). The 1882 edition of Household Stories was beautifully illustrated by Walter Crane (1845-1915) - an influential member of the Arts and Crafts movement like William Morris, whose works of fantasy were also among Tolkien's favourites. 'Certain artists did provide visual sources for Tolkien's writing, particularly in their illustrations for the fairy tales that so appealed to him.' So writes Mary Podles in her article 'Tolkien and the New Art: Visual Sources for "The Lord of the Rings"'. 'Crane illustrated a version of "Grimm's Fairy Tales" that may in several instances have inspired specific scenes and incidents in "The Lord of the Rings." Often Crane added details to his black-and-white illustrations that were not in Grimm, but proved to be the very ones that stuck in Tolkien's memory and resurfaced in his novel.' This new edition, a replica of the original, contains more than 180 pictures, embellishments and ornate initials. Crane's illustrations for the fairy tales that Tolkien read as a boy do justice to the richness, strangeness and beauty of the folklore which fired the imagination of the author of 'The Lord of the Rings'.