After the rather rude and un-Hobbit-like way that his rowdy guests (or intruders) presented themselves at Bag End, it's little wonder that Bilbo Baggins took some time to read through the contract presented to him by Thorin Oakenshield and the band of Dwarves in his company.
A hefty document by any standards, these Conditions of Engagement govern a job that Thorin Oakenshield desperately needs done. An adventurous undertaking judging by the Contract, and adventure is something most hobbits resist.
If Bilbo Baggins returns from this quest alive, he will not be the same hobbit who ran from his front door, having forgotten his pocket handkerchief.
Weta's The Contract of Bilbo Baggins is quite a remarkable artefact created by the artists of the 3Foot7 Art Department in Wellington, New Zealand.
Hand-made by calligrapher and artist Daniel Reeve, who made the iconic original contract used in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, this is an absolutely authentic prop replica.
Creating these things for the films was such a pleasure - but after their fleeting moments in the movie, they’re gone. So it’s fantastic now to be able to faithfully reproduce them for fans, to own for themselves, and enjoy all the detail that went into them, the detail that can never be fully appreciated on screen.
Daniel scans his original script which is then digitally printed onto five separate pieces of high-quality watercolour paper for each contract and then die cut to shape. This is the same paper used in the films.
Daniel explains the choice of paper: "The paper for the Contract is Arches watercolour 185gsm Cold-Pressed. A beautiful paper for calligraphy, with enough tooth to generate skips, texture and character in any pen work. It takes ink and paint beautifully, and can withstand repeated wettings."
Daniel then commences the process of painting the edges of the various sheets and stitching them together by hand, and then fastens the thread with wax seals. He painstakingly applies every crease and every wrinkle by hand, ageing the paper to achieve an authentic looking prop replica.
Each exquisite 4'7" x 2'2" (141cm x 66cm) piece of art is the work of one man and totally unique.
Daniel's craft is indeed a rare one and this is a prop replica the likes of which few have seen.
Available in strictly limited supply and always subject to the artist's availability, The Contract of Bilbo Baggins will be shipped direct from Weta Workshop in New Zealand, tied with a ribbon, rolled up in a plain cardboard box. Included are also instructions for how to roll up the contract after use.
Its dimensions rolled up are 9in x 4.5in x 2.2in (23cm x 11cm x 5.5cm).
The contract comes with a printed Certificate of Authenticity signed by hand by Daniel Reeve. Not that we think it's likely anyone would even try to attempt forgery...