Ents, Tolkein and E. Nesbit’s Magic Cities Drawn by GB George Barraud 1913

“And one of the greatest helps to a small, inexperienced traveller in this sometimes dusty way is the likeness of things to each other. Your piece of thick bread and butter is a little stale, perhaps, and bores you; but, when you see that your first three bites have shaped it to the likeness of a bear or a beaver, dull teatime becomes interesting at once. A cloud that is like a face, a tree that is like an old man, a hill that is like an elephant’s back, if you have things like these to look at, and look out for, how short the long walk becomes.E. Nesbit, Wings and The Child, 1913.

Was Tolkein influenced by the work of E. Nesbit and her “Accidental Magic” stories?

“A Tree Like a Man” by George Barraud, drawn for E. Nesbit’s Wings and The Child or the Building of Magic Cities, 1913 – contemporary with H.G. Wells’ Floor Games of 1911 and Little Wars 1913.

Some draw a line of gaming descent through Little Wars and Gary Gygax to Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy gaming.

Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN on 27 January 2021 from my Pound Store Plastic Warrior’s Blog – this one’s for Mr. Gruber and his Ents


B.P.S. Blog Post Script – there’s a face in the clouds!

4 thoughts on “Ents, Tolkein and E. Nesbit’s Magic Cities Drawn by GB George Barraud 1913”

  1. Fascinating post Mark! I have sent a link to the folk in the Tolkien podcast I follow and will be interested to see what they make of it. Any info I glean I will pass on to you.
    The book covers are splendid and illustrations too, it is interesting to hear of Barraud who is new to me.


  2. Apologies that this was not scheduled in to accompany your morning coffee – normal standards of service will be resumed shortly.
    Proving influence is always hard. I had a similar email conversation with the Tank Museum about the name and development of the WW1 tank that someone claimed in the press and newspapers was named after in developed by someone born in my village. The Tank Museum rolled its eyes (by email), probably muttered “not another one” and added it to their extensive list of others who claim postwar to have named or invented it. (Of course secretly – We all know it was H G Wells in his short story The Land Ironclads … so disappointed he didn’t factor these in to his Little Wars rules)
    I’m sure Barraud’s the Tree Like A Man will join Arthur Rackham and others on the Ent list.
    I am increasingly frustrated how little biographical information there is about illustrators like Barraud, beyond the famous few … workaday unsung heroes of the magazine and book trade. It still is a precarious life …


  3. Great drawing – there’s definitely a face in the clouds and it rather scarily looks a bit like a certain PM!


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