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

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.

5 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!

  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.

  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.

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