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January 22, 2009
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Notion Club Papers: The Club by Afalstein Notion Club Papers: The Club by Afalstein
So. Here are the members of the Notion Club, or at least the ones I've deemed important enough to illustrate. They are, from left to right:

FRONT ROW: Nicholas Guildford; Arundel Lowdhawm; Michael George Ramer; Wilfred Trewin Jeremy

BACK ROW: Alexander Cameron; Sir Alfred Raymond, Rufus Rupert Dolbear, Douglas MacPhee

I'm very proud of this picture, it took me a long time and it was a lot of fun. It was interesting thinking of different poses, expressions, and simple face types for all of them. Someone commented that all my faces look the same, so I tried to counter that here. Not sure if it worked, but it was fun to try.

WARNING! LONG DESCRIPTION COMING UP! Tolkien provides you with loads of information, but I doubt you're interested in all of it (i.e. Ramer belongs to Jesus College and is a professor of Fiino-Ugric Philiology), so I'll just tell you what I consider important about the lot of them.

Nicholas Guildford (Front, far left) is the Notion Club's secretary. He takes down all the notes, and the papers are written from his POV. He's in the earlier "Camera" pic here: [link]

Arundel Lowdhawm: (Front, middle left) You've seen this guy already. To the club, he's their resident comedian, rabble-rouser and such. He is also a philologist, interested in Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic, like Tolkien was. (He looks like Oscar Wilde, but that is simply my own device.)

Michael Ramer: (Front, Middle Right) He is the one who discovers and describes the notion of traveling in dreams. He's an image of Tolkien in the story (indeed, he has many of the same dreams), so I doubt Tolkien would have drawn him like this. Guy looks like a Nazi. But bald guys with sunglasses look cool.

Wilfred Jeremy: (Front, Far Right) This guy seems to be important, but the notes end just where he is starting to get visions. He seems to be a kind of seer, and sees many of the things Lowdhawm does.

Alexander Cameron: (Back, Far left) This guy barely shows up in the papers, and when he does he's a little annoying. I included him because I think Tolkien meant for him to be a bad guy. I drew him something like Charles Williams (who Tolkien was not very fond of), but it doesn't really show.

Sir Raymond: (Back, middle left) This man is actually NOT in the papers. I transplanted him into my version from George MacDonald's "Back of the North Wind", simply because that story had a similar dream-travel premise. He's intended to resemble George MacDonald.

Rufus Dolbear: (Back, Middle Right) Known as "Ruthless Rufus" This guy is always half-asleep, but every so often he says something that shows he knows a lot about what's going on in the club. I think Tolkien meant him to be a Lewis, so I drew him like one.

MacPhee: (Back, far right) If you guys don't know who this is, you should. He's not in Notion Club Papers either, he comes from "That Hideous Strength", where he plays the resident agnostic. I think Tolkien's Notion Club is linked with that story, so I stuck him in.
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pandemonium-213 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
I'm beyond thrilled to find illustrations of one of my favorite stories, albeit incomplete, by JRRT. All three posted here are wonderful, but I am especially taken with this portrait of the fellows. The care you took in the rendering is obvious. Very well done!
Afalstein Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Ha! Someone else who has read the papers! We are few and far between, my friend.

I'm glad you appreciate it. I spent a LOT of time on this picture and it's really one of my favorites in the gallery.
pandemonium-213 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010
The NCP is a remarkable story, and certainly one I wish that JRRT had finished and edited. The first scene -- the conversation amongst the Notioners -- is fantastic: lively and LOL funny! I would venture to say it reveals a lot of what JRRT thought about his mythopoiea. The "scientifictitious" element is overt (which I loved), and the way that Tolkien linked the modern world with his imaginary history was truly intriguing. I liked The Lost Road, too, but The NCP is the better of the two IMO.

Anyway, you have a fellow NCP fan here who may just be prodding you into another illustration or two of the story! ;) And to reiterate, that portrait of the Notioners is fabulous! You've given each man a distinctive look and personality.
Afalstein Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010
I'll consider it. There's not a lot more to illustrate in the segment, though, unless I did some of the dream segments. Or maybe the one storm scene with Jeremy and Lowdhawm, but that is such a level of awesome I'm not sure I dare to.
herr-garrett Featured By Owner May 24, 2010
Nice. The Notion Club Papers are one of the most interesting compositions Tolkien wrote, it's a great pity he abandoned it (in that form). When I first read it I actually didn't know if it was true or not... It was typically Tolkien, but had a sort of smell of truth, especially the reference-hint to the Great Storm.

Well anyway. Well drawn.
Afalstein Featured By Owner May 24, 2010
I did find the Great Storm sequence fascinating, particularly when I read the footnote about how close it was to an actual event in England. Almost freaky in a way.

It's really interesting, too, when Ramer talks about his dreams, because Tolkien himself was a vivid dreamer. It would almost be fun to write "The Notion Club" as a fictionalized history of the Inklings, where they actually experience the things in the papers.
herr-garrett Featured By Owner May 24, 2010
Well, somewhere in the footnotes it is mentioned, that each member of the Club was a re-working of an actual friend of Tolkien's, with Jeremy being Tolkien himself. So, perhaps, there indeed was once such a discussion; although, of course, not nearly as mystical or epic as the fictional one.

Moreover, the Alboin / Aelfwine - Audoin / Éadwine Langobardic-Old English pairing really does exist.
Afalstein Featured By Owner May 25, 2010
Really? Jeremy? I would have thought more Ramer, or Guildford. Jeremy seems like an unusual Tolkien-figure.
AinuLaire Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2010
I did not even know about this abandoned Tolkien story until I came upon this. Very interesting!
Afalstein Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2010
It's a fun story. I stumbled across it by accident and just fell in love with it. It's very similar to "The Lost Road," if you know about that.
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