Description

These illustrations by Sydney Paget are from Arthur Conan Doyle's The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

Doyle came to feel that Sherlock Holmes overshadowed every other piece of work he wrote. In 1893 Doyle killed off his famous detective in 'The Final Problem'. This frontispiece to The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes depicts the shocking scene where Holmes fights with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. They both plummet off the edge of the cliff, supposedly falling to their deaths. The Strand Magazine, in which the Holmes stories were originally published, lost 20,000 subscribers overnight after the publication of 'The Final Problem'.

The second image digitised here is captioned 'Holmes gave me a sketch of the events'. Here we see Holmes, in what is now thought of as his trademark deerstalker hat, talking to his side-kick Dr Watson. Doyle never described Holmes as wearing a deerstalker, this choice of head-wear appears to be the invention of the illustrator Sidney Paget. Dr Watson was a very useful tool for Doyle, as the 'idiot friend' character Watson provided the perfect way for Holmes explain complicated plot lines and deceptions to the reader.

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