Lord of the Rings Book Sculpture

Over the jubilee weekend, Simon took part in a lovely carving event. Working as Titan Arcadia, he and fellow carver Matt Crabb created a stunning sculpture at the Burghley Game & Country Show. Keep reading for the full story behind the incredible Lord of the Rings book sculpture they made…



What is Titan Arcadia?

Firstly though, who or what is Titan Arcadia?!

British chainsaw carver Matt Crabb had the idea of creating more community among chainsaw carvers and set up Titan Chainsaw Carving. It’s a place for support, encouragement, inspiration, and sharing skills and knowledge. In particular, beginners can come alongside more experienced carvers to learn and grow, and the more experienced can mentor and coach.

So Titan is primarily a community. There’s also an environmental initiative called Treecycle, an online shop for buying recommended products, and now Titan Arcadia; a company where carvers from within the Titan community can collaborate and work on bigger pieces together. This event at Burghley was Titan Arcadia’s first project.


simon o'rourke and matthew crabb working on the Lord of the Rings Book Sculpture at Burghley House over the Jubilee Weekend
Simon O’Rourke and Matthew Crabb working on the Lord of the Rings Book Sculpture at Burghley House over the Jubilee Weekend


The Idea Behind the Sculpture

The Burghley House Game and Country Show is an annual event organised by Living Heritage Events. They often incorporate chainsaw carving into their events. And why not?! It’s fun to watch, draws a crowd, and fits in well with the whole feel of a country show.

For the Jubilee Weekend show, Living Heritage invited chainsaw carvers to submit ideas for sculpture. It needed to have scale and impact, and it needed to reflect a notable event from the reign of Queen Elizabeth. There is obviously a lot to choose from!

After some thought though, Simon and Matt came up with a design depicting the publication of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.


a close up of Titan Arcadia's Lord of the Rings book sculpture. the photo is taken at ground level and shows a wooden carved 10' book with a large hand writing using a quill. In the distance there's a sculpture of a character from the book standing on the open book.


Lord of the Rings Book Sculpture: The Concept

The concept behind the sculpture is simple but effective, and a beautiful tribute to the power of good storytelling. It could be carved in several pieces which allowed Matt and Simon to each work on things that are their strengths. That also helped with the practical aspect of two carvers working on the same piece at the same time!

First, there is an open book. A second sculpture then depicts a hand holding a quill that appears to be writing on the pages. Finally, there are two characters emerging from the pages. When displayed together, it depicts the characters coming to life through the words of the author.


close up of the page from Titan Arcadia's Lord of the Rings Book Sculpture. A large wooden book sculpture is engraved with elfish text


In the case of this sculpture, the book is engraved with imagery any fan will associate with the Fellowship of the Ring.

One of the great things about this sculpture is it can be adapted to show any author or book. Even if another Tolkien sculpture was to be made, the figures and text can easily be changed to create a unique sculpture.


Matthew crabb adding varnish to the titan arcadia lord of the rings book sculpture
This sculpture can be recreated to depict any book or author


More About the Sculpture

As we’ve said, this concept can be adapted for any sculpture, and that means size, scale, figures, and text can all be changed. A few details about this sculpture though…

The book is around 3m (10′) wide, so it definitely has some impact! For those worried about moving it though, don’t worry – it’s hollow! It’s also made in a few pieces that are stacked on top of each other for easier moving and assembly.

For this piece, Simon and Matt created Frodo and Gollum sculptures. Again, for easy moving, they simply sit on the book. This means that a library or museum could easily switch things up and show different authors at different times.


close up a a 4' wood sculpture of frodo from lord of the rings
Each piece of the sculpture is a work of art in and of itself, like this sculpture of Frodo.


How Do I Get My Own Lord of the Rings Book Sculpture?

So, you’ve seen it, you love it and you want one. Or a similar sculpture with another author. How do you get one?

Just chat with Simon! Fill out the form at www.treecarving.co.uk/contact/.

This particular book has gone to be part of a sculpture trail in Scotland where it will form part of a Sir Walter Scott exhibit. The text will be sanded down and Sir Walter Scott’s text carved into it by James Elliot, another carver from Titan Arcadia. The figures will be replaced by witches and a cauldron.

That means these particular figures are available (as of July 2022) and just need Simon to make a new book and hand!

However, you’re free to choose your own author, book and characters to reflect your own favourites – just chat to Simon!


sculpture of gollum emerging from under a book. carved in wood.


Inspiration for My Own Book Sculpture.

If you know you would like a sculpture along these lines, but are looking for inspiration, Simon has plenty of fictional characters in his portfolio to give you some ideas of what’s possible. Just click on the linked text to see them!

For more Lord of the Rings, why not check out his other Gollum, Radagast, or Ent?

He’s also created sculptures of characters from Roald Dahl, Narnia, Fairies, and Lewis Carroll.

And of course, for anyone thinking they may adapt it to a comic book with sakura pen instead of a quill, Simon has some Batman, Deadpool, Spiderman, and Groot in his portfolio for inspiration!

Oh, and dragons. Who could forget his many dragons?! The possibilities for this sculpture truly are endless!


Chainsaw carvers Simon O'Rourke and Matthew Crabb stand with their finished Lord of the Rings Book sculpture, a collaborative project. The sculpture is a 10' open book (carved with elfish text) with a hand and quill writing on the page. A 4' sculpture of frodo baggins stands on the other page, and a sculpture of gollum is crawling out from underneath the book.
Matt and Simon with the finished piece.


Final Thoughts

Despite challenges with weather and rotten wood (yes, Gollum was a bit of an adaptation after the original timber couldn’t be used!) this really was a great success for the first Titan Arcadia project. A lovely weekend at a great event, and a sculpture that is impressive and also easily adapted for future clients.

If you would like to contact Simon about a live carving, a Titan Arcadia collaboration, or your own sculpture, use the contact form at www.treecarving.co.uk/contact/.