Athena Posters (1976 – 1980)

Between the second half of the 70’s and the early 80’s Jimmy Cauty drew a couple of posters which were all printed and published by British art retailer Athena.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Lord Of The Rings

Jimmy’s Lord Of The Rings poster is probably the most well known of them all, being one of Athena’s best-selling posters of that time. Due to its popularity it has been reprinted various times since its initial release and therefore regularly pops up on eBay. The reprints all feature a white border, though.

“Lord Of The Rings” poster by Jimmy Cauty (1976)
A guy from Athena actually flew in a helicopter to my house to get the poster and gave me £500 and 12 per cent royalties, which I thought was an absolute fortune ‘cos I was on the dole. Apparently it was mostly student nurses who bought it.Jimmy Cauty, The Face, Apr 1991

Over the years various artists have created a number of posters and artworks which were clearly influenced by Jimmy’s original work.

The Walt Disney company used an illustration by Spanish artist José Maria Manrique for a story in which Donald Duck experiences a vivid LOTR-influenced daydream, and one can cleary tell Manrique’s cover is based on Jimmy’s poster.

“Das Amulett der Elfen” (The Elven Amulet) by José Maria Manrique

A more vibrant remake was sold on Etsy by American artist Rhett Whittington of which a larger version can be found on Rhett’s DeviantArt page.

“Lord Of The Rings” by Rhett Whittington
The LOTR poster remake of Jimmy Cauty’s famous poster was one of my favorite projects I’ve done! […] There’s something about that older art that has more of a whimsical, story-book, and fantasy feel to it that I absolutely love, and tried to capture with my own art. Rhett Whittington

The poster has also inspired a couple of homages, like “Selvarin” by Argentinian artist Cáceres P. Martín E. which can be found on DeviantArt as well.

“Selvarin” by Cáceres P. Martín E. (2018)

And then there is a parody poster called The Habit which is also… “highly influenced” one might say. 😉

“The Habit” poster (unknown artist)


The Hobbit

“The Hobbit” poster by Jimmy Cauty (1980)

Jimmy’s second poster based on the books of J.R.R. Tolkien is drawn in a similar style yet much darker than Lord Of The Rings (and a lot more grim than you probably would expect from a children’s book). The Hobbit remains a hightly sought-after poster by both KLF and LOTR fans alike and is rarely sold anywhere.

Stone Circles

Influenced by the works of English author and esotericist John Michell, The Stone Circles is a triptych on the theme of famous stonecircle sights in Southern England, including Stonehenge

“Stonehenge” poster by Jimmy Cauty (1978)


“Glastonbury” poster by Jimmy Cauty (1978)

… and Avebury.

“Avebury” poster by Jimmy Cauty (1978)

Athena issued all three of them as greetings cards as well.

Other Posters

The King Of Elfland’s Daughter

Painted in 1977 The King Of Elfland’s Daughter was featured as the cover artwork for the concept album by Bob Johnson and Pete Knight (of Steeleye Span) based on Lord Dunsany’s fantasy novel of the same name.

“The King Of Elfland’s Daughter” poster by Jimmy Cauty (1977)

While their paths did not cross again until 10 years later, the album also features the vocal talent of a certain PP Arnold…

The Gift

Jimmy’s 1978 poster The Gift is a smorgasbord of different elements. A group of astronauts meet the inhabitants of a fantasy realm where UFOs roam the sky and a dragon rests by a river, all observed by a group of robed figures.

“The Gift” poster by Jimmy Cauty (1978)

The poster’s centerpiece slightly resembles the classic “The Wedding Of The King” artwork by the Brothers Hildebrandt who themselves have created some iconic illustrations for Tolkien’s work.

The Three Witches

Even preceding the Lord Of The Rings poster, The Three Witches was released by Elgin Court Designs in 1975 after London publisher Gallery 5 refused to released Jimmy’ work, presumably being worried it looked too scary for greeting cards.

“The Three Witches” greeting card by Jimmy Cauty (1975)

Elgin Court were later also interested in releasing the Lord Of The Rings poster but were unable to match Athena’s counter-offer.

70 thoughts on “Athena Posters (1976 – 1980)

  1. Always loved Jimmy Cauty’s work.
    Almost saw the LOTR original.
    Please advise – do you have any of the Christmas card images he did – they were chuffing genius – several published small images and the Snowman was larger (same size as his Teacher illustration). If you have any of the actual cards I would like to bid for them!

    1. Hi Freddie,
      I have an original Jimmy Cauty (Elgin Court 1976) “The Snowman” Christmas card, in excellent condition.
      If you are still interested, would you like to make me an offer for it?

  2. I’m officially spooked. The posters bring back so many memories. I had the LOTR poster on my bedroom wall as a teenager at my parents house, and for several years afterwards. I used to love looking at all the fine details. In retrospect, I even think I remember seeing the name CAUTY somewhere, probably near the bottom, close to Gollum. But I had no idea it was the same Cauty as in KLF. I need to go back to my parent’s house and see if it’s still there, somewhere.

    Thanks for all the information, it’s wonderful what you can find on the net nowadays.

    1. Luckily it’s the most easily obtainable of the lot, so even if your parents have thrown it out since (shame on them) you should have no problem finding another one on eBay these days.

      1. Those are briliiant. Had that poster from the seventies when I got it off the Athena box from a shop selling incense sticks and hippy stuff in the Midlands. Had it for years then my ex nicked it.

  3. Trying to find a print of “Stonehenge”, but can’t find it anywhere. I tried eBay, but they only have the LOTR poster with Gandalf. We have that already.

    I’d love to get this for my husband as a gift, but I can’t seem to find this artist anywhere but here on the web! Any leads on where I might find a print of this work would be hugely appreciated!

    1. Other than eBay your options might be pretty limited, but if anybody knows another source feel free to share your knowledge with Alison, please.

  4. I used to have the ‘avebury’ one when i was a kid. my dad picked it up for me at some jumble sale in the late 80’s.
    Sadly, i didnt know how to take care of postersback then and didn’t have the means to buy a large frame for it anyways, so 4 moves and 3078 re-pinnings, at least two accidental tear-downs and a few square miles of cellotape later, it was damaged so badly that i threw it out, thinking i could replace it without too much fuss (it came from a junk sale after all) Never found one.
    Now,20-30 years later, they turn out to be collectors items, really expensive if they are even available at all.

    I wish they would reprint them ( if need be with a clear marking showing them to be reprints, to not mess with the collector’s value of the original ones) as i’d love to have ‘avebury’ grace my walls again. And had i known there was a glastonbury one, id have been after that even as a kid! Hell i’d even pay for a good fullsized digital/printable copy of them. I’m not a collector, i just like the posters for their content and a bit of nostalgia for something that brought a bit of ‘magic’ to my childhood.

    1. Just been lucky enough to get avebury already have the Hobbit. Desperately trying to fi d The Gift and Glastonbury but no luck yet. Xxxx

  5. (In hindsight i see my wording might give cause to misunderstanding, and i cant edit my original post, so let me be clear: in the ‘paying for a printable digital copy’ bit i of course meant paying to the copyright holders, just like with an ebook, so i can print it myself instead of relying on enough demand to warrant a full reprint. Not any kind of illegal copy, as the maker of these awesome posters deserves to be well compensated for his amazing works!., id even pay him for a copy if the copyright had already expired..)

  6. I used to have a set of four posters which I assume were by Jim Cauty (although I may be wrong). The titles were ‘Earth’, ”Air’, ‘Fire’, and ‘Water’, and I’ve been looking for replacements since the early nineties!

  7. LOTR, Stonehenge and Glastonbury adorned my bedroom wall when I was younger, along with a poster of Lothlorien in Spring and one of Bilbo’s Last Song. I still have them all. I have no any idea who the artist is for the last two.

  8. Hi
    I have a picture featuring 3 witches and 2 dragons signed Jimmy Cauty, picked up in a charity shop years ago.. At the top of an arch over the witches it says Elgin court designs sold here. It is a beautiful picture which I love. Would anyone know anything about it?

    1. Hi Sharon
      I had that picture on my bedroom wall in 1977 – I believe it was the first piece of paid artwork Jimmy Cauty did. I seem to recall that he did the work in a shed in his mums garden, but I could be wrong.

      I got my copy as a freebie from our local hippie art shop – what a find. I have looked all over the web for it, I would love to see it again.

      1. I recently found this drawing and since framed it. I’d love to know more about it and if there were many copies made, etc.

        1. Which picture are you referring to Chris? The three Witches? I have owned a copy of this picture for many years but have been unable to find anything about it. Its a fantastic piece of work in my eyes.

  9. I recently went looking for an early print of the Lord of the Rings poster, which I loved as a child, and found one on eBay, then did some research into Jimmy Cauty, whom I knew nothing about! Well soon afterwards I found the Hobbit poster also, it came in the mail today from across the Atlantic, and I am absolutely thrilled with it. I don’t think that one was available in the States, at least I never saw it. I intend to frame them myself and hang them as a pair.

      1. Incidentally, the King of Elfland’s Daughter record album is easy to acquire, I found one in great condition for fifteen US bucks. It was beautifully printed and I think it will looked great hung with the posters when they are all framed.

        1. Three years on – I had both posters and the album covered framed as a set, and they really are a blast to have hanging in our little library. Such gorgeous work!

  10. I’d give my right arm for the Glastonbury poster and my left for the Avebury one, but then I wouldn’t be able to put up said posters. How about a re-run .

  11. I have found an ‘Avebury’ poster printed by Athena InternationalLondon in 1978 in our loft. Unfortunately it has been mounted on ply wood and would be nigh on impossible to remove and isn’t in brilliant condition. I’ve tried to find a value for it but I’m struggling to find anything anywhere. Any ideas?

    1. Hi J Kirkness,
      Do you still have the poster and are you sure that it is by Jimmy Cauty?
      If it is and still available, I would be interested in buying it. Please let me know.
      Thanks for your time in this. James Henry

  12. I have in my bedroom in Italy “The Hobbit” and “The Gift”, original, brought by a friend of my parents from London, back in the day, perfect conditions, both. I have also another one which looks like them of Sir Gwain(e?), same company but probably different artist. I would love the Lprd of the Rings tho.

  13. I currently have the “The Hobbit” and “The Gift” on my living room wall. Love them both, always finding new detail/ images when I look at them. The couple that I purchased my first house from left them as they wouldn’t fit on their downsized cottage walls. What a lovely gift.

  14. First saw the ragged-edged LOTR poster on the wall of an “older” (age… 13?) family friend when I was 11 or so, back in the 80s. I’d just finished reading the Hobbit and would soon thereafter read the trilogy for the first time. What seems like many years later (but realistically only a few), I received my own copy of the poster for Christmas, c. 1990 or so. My exposure to the KLF came later, and when I even later realized the connection, my mind was blown.

    Anyway: Thoughts on the shadowy characters in the Hobbit poster’s bottom left and right?

  15. Looking all over the internt, for tim weare
    “four elements”, only “fire” in Poor quality
    is out there. Can you help me find them?

  16. Hi wonder if you can help I’ve got a Lord of the rings wall art from Athena. I’ve had it for over 30 years and my aunt was the original owner. Iys actually a poster on hard wood. Would you know how much it would cost now

  17. I recall seeing the unfinished original LOTR at Jimmy Cauty sisters home in Totnes, Devon early 70’s. Who knew……

  18. Bought LOTR and Glastonbury from an Athena shop in the eighties.Came across
    them again rolled up at the back of a wardrobe in 2015.Now framed and hanging
    On my walls.

  19. Wow! So glad I found this site. My sister gave me her original Stonehenge poster over 30 years ago as she knew I had a fascination with Stonehenge, but I never knew (or really paid attention) to who the artist is. Now that I see images of his other works, I recognize most of them. No idea where she originally got it, but she did a lot of traveling in her youth in the 70’s. It’s in slightly rough shape as I had it on my university dorm room walls, then my apartments, and only got around to framing it a few years ago – but now I’m glad I did!

  20. Absolutely in love with his art. Do you know if there are other lost / forgotten posters from Cauty? I’ve got a poster I bought as a kid called “Master of the Elements”, printed by Scandecor and still hanging on my wall. The style is very similar to Cauty’s but I’ve found no info anywhere…

  21. 17 year old draws picture for poster company and helicopter comes to pick poster up. My fucking arse. What is Jimmy leaving out of this fable?

  22. Hi there, I believe I may have a signed J Cauty version of this poster. Any help verifying that would be great. Thankyou

      1. I bought this from Jed on eBay and am delighted to have got hold of it, it really is very nearly perfect condition.

        Thanks! Still looking for a very good Glastonbury if there’s one out there?!

  23. Just to let people know, Glastonbury is currently available on eBay (until Monday 20th March). And if anybody comes across Avebury, I am still desperate for it!

  24. Just a heads up for anyone looking for the Avebury poster by Jimmy Cauty. I will be listing one hopefully next weekend. Nice condition. no Idea of its worth, no doubt it will find its own value…..if seen!

  25. Now here is a funny thing. I’ve just received a copy of Jimmy’s Stonehenge Cookbook. It mentions him stopping off at the stones on his way along the A303 to London, the Stonehenge free parties and when he buried the Brits award there (twice). Stonehenge obviously has a resonance for him, so why no mention of the poster?

  26. Ah, serendipity. I am blessed to have all 5 Cauty posters (LOTR, Hobbit, and stone circle triptych), all of which graced my bedroom walls when I was a kid back in the late 70’s / early 80s…. and since 1990 I’ve been a fan of the KLF’s work – I only made the Cauty connection a few years ago though. I also had the Pauline Bayliss Map of Middle Earth and ‘Bilbo’s Last Song’ posters as a kid – I think they are still around somewhere. All of them were important elements in forming my understanding of the world, and I love them dearly…

    1. Fab set of 5. If you ever fancy selling them then ask a price! I had all 5 from my teens and lost all 5 to water damage on a house move and storage. I’d definitely replace them.

    2. There were, I think 6 Athena / Cauty poster in three groups:

      1 The Gift
      2 LOTR (The main one + The Hobbit)
      3 “Stone Circles”

      If anybody was lucky enough to have them all and had a big enough wall, the sets could be hung one above the other to form a pyramid…

  27. so I have this amazing wood piece with the original poster on it .
    I’m trying to figure out if it has any value .

    anyone know how to go about this ?

  28. I am going to be listing Glastonbury and Stonehenge on Ebay this week if anyone still looking for them. original 70s loft find

  29. Does anyone have one of the Christmas card range that Jimmy did, esp The Snowman? My entire set of every Jimmy image went with flood damage. I have found a copy of his Teacher. Now looking for The Snowman. Generous offers made.

  30. I am now lucky enough to have all three “Stone Circles” (so called) and The Gift. Obviously the LOTR one is easy to aquire, so I am now very keen to get The Hobbit! Frustratingly, I missed one one Ebay last month that sold for £149.99: (scroll down for listing)

    PS: Anecdote for sellers: £130 – £170 seems to be the going rate for these posters on ebay. It may be that the traditional auction houses don’t always acheive these prices – I recently picked up The Gift for £30 + P+P. (This is not advice)

  31. I seem to have bought a Cauty LOTR postcard.

    Does anybody know anything about these? I don’t remember seeing one before.

    PS. People seem to be struggling to get the £150 for the stone circles now. Not sure if that is a cost of living thing or an increase in supply – is anybody aware of any fakes out there?

    1. So far only came across one of the stone circle postcards but Athena probably milked them all as much as possible. Nice find!

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