THE hat worn during the 1950s by Lord of Rings author JRR Tolkien is among exhibits celebrating his work at Banbury Museum.

Journeys into Middle-Earth features paintings by leading Tolkien artist Ted Nasmith and three letters by The Hobbit author.

The Canadian artist illustrated the official 2010 Tolkien calendar and was offered a consultant’s role on the Lord of the Rings movies.

The exhibition also features a pipe given by the Oxford University professor to his brother Hilary, who he also addressed the letters to.

The items have been lent by grandnephew Chris Tolkien to the Castle Quay shopping centre museum, run by Cherwell District Council.

Paintings include a depiction of wizard Gandalf arriving at Bag End and of Bilbo and The Eagles.

Exhibitions officer Dale Johnston said: “I have been looking forward to staging the exhibition for several years.

“Visitors have been enjoying Ted Nasmith’s inspiring paintings. The letters are a wonderful addition to the exhibition.”

The free exhibition includes a dragon treasure prize trail and art activities where children can create a sword, amulet or crown.

It follows the 2010 Inspiring Middle-Earth exhibition at the museum, which also featured Mr Nasmith’s work.

The exhibition includes a January 1965 letter from the author’s Headington home and one sent in1972, a year before his death.

Deputy council leader George Reynolds said: “Banbury Museum continues to mount intriguing and thought provoking exhibitions.

“As we enter 2013 this new display is no exception.

“The chance to see these artworks and rare letters, combined with the increased interest in hobbits resulting from the new film, will ensure that this exhibition is bound to be well attended.”

The exhibition is open on Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm until February 2, except for December 23 to 26 and January 1.

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