J.R.R. Tolkien, in full John Ronald Reuel Tolkien,  is one of the most celebrated English authors. He was born on this day 123 years ago in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

He is recognised by most for The Lord of the Rings, a three-volume novel cycle, and for The Hobbit. His work would be adapted to films, theatre plays and even portrait tattoos.

Read more at Encyclopædia Britannica and at Tolkien Library.

One of his distinguishing characteristics was the ability to imagine a world of his creation in which to set his fantasy tales. Not only was Tolkien a superb writer, he was also a gifted illustrator. Find out Why Tolkien was a fine modern artist.

You can check out Tolkien’s complete list of imagined cities, towns and villages at Tolkien Gateway.

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Tolkien’s illustration of Rivendell in The Hobbit. Source: Tolkien Gateway