“The authorised texts of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have always been closely guarded, and any intended changes made under the supervision of J. R. R. Tolkien or his son, and literary executor, Christopher. The only condensed edition of The Hobbit to be published was issued in 1964 when the story was serialised in Princess – a British magazine aimed at pre-teenage girls. Surprisingly, the abridgement was completed with minimal input from Tolkien, or his publisher.
The text was accompanied by a series of 83 illustrations by Ferguson Dewar. Commissioned specifically for the serial and to be exhibited in full for the first time at Tolkien 2019, this was the first English-language edition of The Hobbit to be illustrated by an artist other than the author.
Ferguson Dewar’s early work as a freelance artist included illustrations for articles in Woman’s Own magazine and advertisements for the P&O cruise line, Hollands Toffees and Murray Mints.
During the Sixties, Dewar worked as an illustrator for magazine publishers D. C. Thompson, Fleetway Publications and IPC Magazines via the B. L. Kearley illustration agency, producing artwork and cartoon strips for series including Tommy Trouble, The Herbs, Alice in Spaceland (with Mark Peppe) and The Wonderful Island of Yum.
Later, in the Seventies, he moved away from magazine and comic work to illustrate children’s picture books such as Dusty the Donkey and Ugly Dudley.”