1) What we have: pictures of the Mourning Crown
2) Research on general details
3) More research: ornamentation
4) Ways to make the crown
5) Step-by-step how-to
6) Finished project
This beautiful golden crown appears in TTT, in the flash forward scene "Arwen's fate". Elrond tells his daughter what will await her when she follows her decision to stay in Middle Earth and be with Aragorn.
I've read several times that it's supposed to be her crown as a Queen of Gondor, but I think it's also possible that she wears it just for the King's funeral. The crown for her coronation/wedding does look different after all, and I think a Queen would have more than one crown. Anyway...
SIDE NOTE: When I first saw this crown on the big screen, it immediately reminded me of one of my favourite paintings, "Le mort d'Arthur" ("The Death of King Arthur") by James Archer (1823-1904).
Note the crown that Morgaine (the figure in the center) is wearing! Doesn't it look like Arwen's?
Maybe the movie crown was inspired by this painting? But that's just a sidenote anyway ;)
1) What we have - Pictures of the Mourning Crown
Although it is a rather long sequence in the movie, there are only few shots so far that show Arwen's crown close enough to get an impression of what it looks like. Here's a selection of reference images (these are the images that I found the most useful):
Arwen in mourning for King Elessar
A further away shot
Plus, we see the crown in two large shots picturing Arwen standing by the tomb of Aragorn. These pics are perfect to show the actual length of the veil, but the crown is just too small....
(Is it just me or does the veil appear longer in pic No. 1 than it looks in No. 2? This can't be just because it's flowing? And the dress doesn't have as long a train as in the first picture...? Anybody else see this?)
Yep, so far that's all we got.
2) Research on details
Wanting to get as many details as possible, I took all the pictures shown above and did some rendering in Photoshop....oh what would we do without this nifty program? ;-)
a tad darker, more contrast added
|brighter and sharpened|
a close up on the 'cut off' picture
3) More research (pattern etc.)
There still was one question left: Which patterns are on the crown? Does it have any? There's the White Tree of Gondor on the front (which is pretty obvious. I mean, Arwen *is* Queen of Gondor... ;) ). But I thought I saw some pattern on the 'hoop' as well.
I stumbled upon this drawing somewhere:
(I really can't remember where I found it, so if *you* did it; please drop me a line and I'll put credits up for it!)
It shows the cartouche in the center of the front with the White Tree and the seven stars, and a bit of the ornaments to the sides.
Although it's a *bit* too large to be used as an actual model, I decided to use this because the lines were already drawn and everything I had to do was minimize it a little. You can always copy the tree straight from the books, though ;-)
As for the rest of the ornamentation....
It is visible only at *very* close inspection. All the pictures tend to get fuzzy in this spot - if the ornaments are there at all, but I *do* believe there are tiny chiselled ornaments all around the hoop of the crown. It's a very simple crown, almost just plain a circlet, but I don't think it's really plain. If you blow up reference image #2 you can see some dainty ornaments running along the sides....
anybody else but me see it? ;)
I think it's a kind of braided pattern.............
Maybe there is more ornamentation, like leaves or dots between the braid, but everything else would be pure guessing at this stage.
As for the heigth...
The circlet itself seems to be rather thin and small. The pointed front appears to be a very softl peak. Looking closely especially on the posed full length 'Tomb' image I estimate the point to be about 6 cm high.
4) Ways to make the crown
As there's still no official version of this crown (and most likely never will be, but who knows? They even threw Arwen's "official headpiece" on the market that was cut from the movie and only appears in a short sequence on the Extended version and on few pictures...), I had to be inventive ;-)
I tried sculpey as my first alternative but pretty soon went back to using normal cardboard as a base, draw the patterns with 'Liquid Pearls' (explanation on that later on) and finally cover it in layers of gold leaf metal. That's the cheapest and still the best way to get an authentic looking crown and not something that looks like you bought it at Burger King ;)
Preparations - The materials
What you need:
- enough time (the making of the crown will take one week at least, two or more if you want to be accurate!)
- something to cover up your working place 'cause it'll get *very* messy...unless you got a workshop, of course
- a pencil & scissors
a piece that is long enough to be cut into long, small stripes (don't forget it has to be high enough that the tip can be cut out as well!). I recommed a Pizza box. Yes, my crown has been a Pizza box in a former life
- double sided adhesive tape
- a medium sized (old) brush
- 'Liquid Pearls*' or something equal (Glitter Glue or any other kind of Dimensional Paint works)
- Leaf metal in gold (can be found at icraft shops; usually 8-10 sheets per pack - you'll need about 3 sheets for the crown)
- Special glue for leaf metal (Usually somewhere next to the leaf metal in the stores)
- Shellac (not Shelob ) for varnishing and sealing the leaf metal
- Something to set the crown upon, preferably a styropor head
- A fan brush or an equally large other brush
* Liquid Pearls is officially a paint to embellish stamped designs, but I use it for everything that requires 3D painting. Basically, every dimensional paint that you can get (Tulip etc.) is the same. Just try to get a color close to the final finish of what you're doing - in this case, gold, glitter gold, champagne, yellow or vanilla works best since the crown is golden. If you take a darker color,it might shine through the leaf metal and you'll need more to cover it.
5) Step by step guide
~Sorry, but this section is still under construction. I didn't take pics during the making of my crown. I'm making another one for a friend though and the digi cam will always be at hand then. So, this is just a rough guide; a detailed one with photos of the various stages will follow soon. If you have an urgent question about the crown, try e-mailing me ~
Download instructions as Microsoft Word Document
View HTML version
6) The finished crown
YAY! It's done!
A photomanip of "Arwen" and King Aragorn (click for bigger pic):
And some costume images from Ring*Con 2003 and a private photoshoot
Before you ask, yes, I do have the Mourning Gown, but it's not an exact reproduction. It was made by a seamstress about the time when I had my BR gown made also. I had no idea about sewing ;-) One day,I will make my own Mourning Gown, though I pretty much like this one.
More than a year later - I never thought I'd have to update this page ;-) Well, but there has been a new documentary on the RotK DVD that shows - yes! The crown from behind!
As I feared and suspected, it is OPEN in the back! Well this makes it easier because you can wear it with veil and wig or without, but when you make it from cardboard and leaf metal as I did, I suggest NOT to let it open on the backside. You can't flex it anyway after the Shellack has dried, so leaving it open would be unnecessary. Besides, open circlets look stupid, I think.
There are also quite a few new pictures on the additional Howard Shore DVD that come with the Soundtrack of TTT. They show nothing new - the only new thing is a part of the lyrics for 'Evenstar' that I used immediately for a banner *gg* - but they are a bit clearer and better in resolution, so for the sake of completion I put them up.
All original work is protected by intellectual property laws. No copyright infringement is intended - copyrighted images are being used for costume study purposes only. © for images from 'The Lord of the Rings' movies is with New Line Cinema / the Saul Zaentz Company. Names of places, people and things from 'The Lord of the Rings' books are © The Tolkien Estate. Site design, graphics, and content is copyright © Ela unless otherwise indicated.