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[doyle, sir arthur conan]; paget, sidney
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About the item

PAGET, SIDNEY Original pen & ink and wash drawing of “The Death of Sherlock Holmes” to illustrate the story “The Final Problem,” (10 ½ x 6 3/4 in.; 258 x 172 mm),  signed and dated “Sidney Paget / 1893" by the artist in the lower left corner, the drawing done in two sections (the bottom one 3 3/8 in., 87 mm) and separated where an even black line shows, matted and framed.\nSHERLOCK HOLMES AND PROFESSOR MORIARTY IN MORTAL COMBAT AT THE REICHENBACH FALLS. “The path has been cut half-way round the fall to afford a complete view, but it ends abruptly, and the traveller has to return as he came...little doubt that a personal contest between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a situation, in their reeling over, locked in each other’s arms” (“The Final Solution”). Sidney Edward Paget (1860-1908) was not the first illustrator to try his hand at picturing Sherlock Holmes. He had four predecessors, including the author’s father Charles Doyle. But from the publication of “The Adventure of a Scandal in Bohemia” in the July 1891 issue of the Strand Magazine, the first Holmes story to appear there, Paget’s depiction of the detective became the accepted authentic representation and his name has become indelibly associated with that of Sherlock Holmes. Of the 350 odd drawings for the Sherlockian canon which Paget drew, this vivid illustration of the fatal struggle between Holmes and Moriarty – a Manichaean battle between good and evil, dark and light – may well be the most famous. When Doyle’s second series of Holmes stories, eleven in number, were collected in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), this drawing was used as the frontispiece. “It would be impossible to overestimate the influence that this artist...exerted upon the hearts and mind of the countless thousands who based their conception then – as they still continue to do...on his interpretation of Holmes, Watson, and the golden time ‘where it is always 1895'” (James Montgomery, A Study in Pictures, Philadelphia, 1954). \nDoyle “had threatened to kill Sherlock Holmes after the first six stories. He was determined to do so at the end of the second series. It was in the summer of 1893, when he was in Switzerland visiting the Findelen Glacier with Silas Hocking that the method came to him...The author announced that he did not wish to be known only as the author of Sherlock Holmes. ‘I shall kill him off at the end of the year.’ Hocking remonstrated. But the author went on: ‘If I don’t...he’ll kill me.’ Hocking then suggested that Holmes might be brought out to Switzerland and dropped down a crevasse...The author liked the idea but chose the Reichenbach Falls which, as Hocking commented, disposed of him quite as effectually, and with a somewhat better chance of bring him back to life again if he should be that way inclined” (R. L. Green and J. M. Gibson, A Bibliography of A. Conan Doyle, pp. 76-77).\n\nSidney Paget’s spirited illustrations to the Holmes canon “capture for us so perfectly the magic mood of the immortal stories” (Montgomery) and this is perhaps his most iconic.
US
NY, US
US

literature

Sherlock Holmes. Catalogue of an Exhibition held at Abbey House, Baker Street, London, May-September 1951, no. 27

provenance

With Lew David Feldman (House of El Dieff, Inc.) in the 1970s


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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