Tim Tolkien

Tim Tolkien (born September 1962) is an English sculptor who has designed several monumental sculptures, including the award-winning Sentinel.

Tim Tolkien
Sentinel sculpture TimTolkien.jpg
Sentinel near the Jaguar works in Castle Bromwich, formerly the Castle Bromwich Assembly Spitfire factory
BornSeptember 1962 (age 57)
Known forSculpture
Notable work

He has a wood carving and metal sculpture business at Cradley Heath, West Midlands. He is also a bass player and member of the band Klangstorm, founded in 1996.

Early lifeEdit

Tim is the great-nephew of the writer J. R. R. Tolkien. He was raised in the village of Hughenden Valley and went to the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. He graduated with a degree in fine art (sculpture) from the University of Reading in 1984.



Sentinel is Tolkien's most famous work to date. In 1996, he was appointed by CAN[1] who were awarded the contract to develop public art proposals for the estate using National Lottery money, as an artist in residence to help with regeneration of the Castle Vale estate in Birmingham. The following year, he consulted with residents about an art project for the entrance to the estate. They favoured a sculpture featuring Spitfires, reflecting the area's flying history and particularly the Castle Bromwich Assembly which stood nearby. The large steel and aluminium Sentinel Spitfire sculpture was the result, showing three Spitfires peeling off up into the air in different directions. It was unveiled on 14 November 2000, near the former factory which built them, by their former test pilot Alex Henshaw.

Cedric HardwickeEdit

Tolkien also sculpted a memorial to the actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke, at the latter's birthplace of Lye, West Midlands, for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council. The memorial takes the form of a giant filmstrip, the illuminated cut metal panels illustrating scenes from some of Sir Cedric's best-known roles, which include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Shape of Things to Come, and The Ghost of Frankenstein. It was unveiled in November 2005.


His proposals for a 20-foot (6.1 meter) high statue of Treebeard, an Ent from The Lord of the Rings, to be erected on the Green at Moseley, near J. R. R. Tolkien's childhood home in Birmingham, have met with some controversy, but permission for its erection – originally scheduled for May 2007 – was granted by Birmingham City Council.[2][3]


Work Location
(Birmingham unless stated)
Date Picture Coordinates
(With links to map and aerial photo sources)
James Watt's Mad Machine Winson Green Metro station 1998 (1998)   52°29′50″N 1°55′53″W / 52.497216°N 1.931290°W / 52.497216; -1.931290 Supported by Eric Klein Velderman, Paula Woof and local school pupils.[4]
Lanchester Car Monument Nechells 1995 (1995)   52°29′35″N 1°52′22″W / 52.4930°N 1.8729°W / 52.4930; -1.8729 On the site of the development of the first British petrol-engined car[5]
Mosaics Menzies High School, Sandwell With Eric Klein Velderman and pupils.[6]
Millennium Sculpture St.Nicholas School, Kenilworth 2001 (2001) With pupils[7]
Dragonfly sculpture Hembrook Infants and Junior school, Warwickshire May 2003 (2003-05) With Emma Dicks[8]
Gateway Belle Vue Primary School, Stourbridge [9]
Archway Springhallow School, Ealing With pupils.[10]
Memorial to Sir Cedric Hardwicke Lye, West Midlands November 2005 (2005-11)   52°27′32″N 2°07′04″W / 52.458776°N 2.117764°W / 52.458776; -2.117764
Bluebell Sot's Hole Local Nature Reserve, West Bromwich 2008 (2008)   52°31′38″N 1°59′05″W / 52.527268°N 1.984727°W / 52.527268; -1.984727 [11]
Gate Sot's Hole Local Nature Reserve, West Bromwich 2008 (2008)   52°31′38″N 1°59′05″W / 52.527202°N 1.984665°W / 52.527202; -1.984665 [11]
Gates RSPB Sandwell Valley   52°32′07″N 1°56′53″W / 52.535371°N 1.947992°W / 52.535371; -1.947992
Sentinel Castle Bromwich 14 November 2000 (2000-11-14)   52°30′48″N 1°47′53″W / 52.5134°N 1.7981°W / 52.5134; -1.7981
Cardinal Newman statue Cofton Park, Birmingham 2010 (2010) [12]
Gate Holly Wood Local Nature Reserve, Sandwell 2012 (2012)   52°32′54″N 1°55′32″W / 52.548281°N 1.925456°W / 52.548281; -1.925456 [13]
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX

Tolkien also undertook the redesign of Lea Hall railway station, Birmingham, with Eric Klein Velderman; completed in 1998)[14]

Other notable workEdit

He has also worked with the singer and television presenter Toyah Willcox, designing her armour-like stage costumes and, in 2005, making a documentary film for BBC2, comparing New Zealand's successful exploitation of its movie-related J. R. R. Tolkien associations, with that of J.R.R.'s (and Toyah's) home town, Birmingham.


  1. ^ http://www.can-uk.co.uk
  2. ^ https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/outrage-as-tolkien-statue-is-approved-38145
  3. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_midlands/6412017.stm
  4. ^ [1] Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Birmingham Photographs – Lanchester Car Public Art". Bplphoto.co.uk. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 October 2004. Retrieved 8 April 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "St. Nick's Sculpture". Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Arts Contact Warwickshire". Warwickshire.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 February 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Pupils get a spring in their step". Ealing Times. Thisisealing.co.uk. 28 July 2003. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  11. ^ a b "The Friends of Sot's Hole". The Friends of Sot's Hole. Spring 2008. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  12. ^ https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-11267045
  13. ^ Philpotts, Chris (26 April 2013). "Whitecrest pupils add the icing on the gate!". Great Barr Observer (1868): 5.
  14. ^ [2] Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit