Illuin: Lamp of the Valar

Media: Gouache on illustration board

First appeared in the illustrated edition of The Silmarillion, and The Silmarillion Poster Collection, published by HarperCollins in 1998.

Also used as the cover for some editions of The Silmarillion.

Illuin: Lamp of the Valar is an attempt to portray one of the more beautiful images Tolkien describes in his intriguing accounts of Middle-earth’s prehistory. While I doubt that Yvanna’s giant trees would actually have surrounded the lamp Illuin, it is an artist’s prerogative sometimes to compose a picture which combines two interesting concepts as a “taste” of his ideas.

“And since, when the fires were subdued or buried beneath the primeval hills, there was need of light, Aulë at the prayer of Yvanna wrought two mighty lamps for the lighting of the Middle-earth… and the light of the Lamps of the Valar flowed out over the Earth, so that all was lit as it were in a changeless day.”
— The Silmarillion

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks Nina,

    Yes I wanted to try to visualize a truly exotic image as suggested in these not-as-well-known passages describing the earliest landscape features of Middle-earth. It’s interesting that before it was bathed only in starlight, two mighty lamps illuminated the world, this one and a southern counterpart. I love the description of the giant trees, too, and decided to include them in the immediate area near the Lamp.

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