Once you start looking, it's easy to see that aesthetics (the area of philosophy concerned with art and beauty) is fundamental to understanding the world of The Hobbit and the views of its creator. Whether it's the magical map Gandalf gives Thorin, Gollum's clever riddles in the dark, the ring of power Bilbo finds, the artistic way Gandalf weaves his story for Beorn, or the peerless beauty of the Arkenstone of Thrain, the arts are continually a key feature in the story.
Works of art are to The Hobbit what surveillance gadgets and secret documents are to spy movies: integral elements that drive the plot. The story of The Hobbit is a journey through a world of craftsmanship, artifacts, and artistry.
[Philip Tallon, "'Pretty Fair Nonsense': Art and Beauty in the Hobbit", in The Hobbit and Philosophy, Bassham and Bronson, eds., John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Hoboken, NJ: 2012), pp. 118-119.]