Alan Lee

Conceptual Designer


Full Name: Alan Lee

Birthplace: Middlesex, England

Birth Date: 20th August 1947

Marital status: He is married to Marja






  • Had two cameos in The Lord of the Rings. He appeared as one of the nine kings in the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and can also be seen as a Rohan refugee in the armoury during The Two Towers (2002)

  • Uses the Dartmoor landscape as his inspiration for many of his drawings

  • In 1978 he illustrated a large volume of fairy lore called Faeries. This established his reputation as an artist

  • Was originally expected to work in New Zealand for 6 months on The Lord of the Rings, but instead stayed for 6 years and returned home in 2004

  • Worked on the TV mini-series Merlin (1998)

  • Has two children. Virginia and Owen

  • Along with fellow artist, John Howe, he illustrated a special centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings in 1992

  • Created artwork for the CD Alive by Dutch group Omina

  • Was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration in 1993 for Black Ships Before Troy

  • First heard of Peter Jackson when a parcel arrived one morning, containing videos of Peterís Forgotten Silver (1995) and Heavenly Creatures (1994) along with a letter from both Peter and Fran Walsh explaining how they were working on The Lord of the Rings and would he like to be involved. A phone conversation later and he was signed on

  • After visiting Dartmoor in 1975, he fell in love with the place and moved from London

  • Worked as the conceptual designer for Terry Jonesí film Eric the Viking (1989)

  • Studied at the Ealing School of Art, graduating in 1979

  • As well as being a conceptual designer, he also became heavily involved in all areas of designing The Lord of the Rings, including art design, working with sets and props and visual effects. He also created roughly 2,500 sketches during his time in New Zealand

  • Won the Best Artist Award at the Worlds Fantasy Awards in 1998

  • Daughter Virginia Lee is also an illustrator and sculptor. She worked on The Lord of the Rings for 2 years, designing sculptures and statues and then went on to create some of the collectable statues and plaques produced by Sideshow-Weta. Her father has one of her sculptures sitting on his mantelepiece

  • His cottage is full of The Lord of the Rings related images, sculptures and paintings. During the summer months he works in his barn, which is also full of his collection. In the winter he uses the downstairs rooms of the cottage as his workroom

    Notable Projects:

  • King Kong (2005)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
  • Merlin (TV Series) (1998)
  • Erik the Viking (1989)

    Current Projects:

  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • The Hobbit: There and Back Again (2014)

    Selected Awards:

  • 2004: Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (The Return of the King)
  • 2004: Golden Satellite Award for Best Art Direction (The Return of the King)
  • 2003: Visual Effects Society Award for Best Effects Art Direction (The Two Towers)


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