[DOYLE, Arthur Conan]. PAGET, Sidney (1860-1908), Illustrator. Original gouache and watercolor drawing for Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Silver Blaze," signed "SP" in lower right-hand corner. The drawing is captioned in ink (probably by Paget) along the right-hand margin: "Holmes gave me a sketch of the events." Published in The Strand Magazine, December 1892, p. 646.
180 x 260 (10¼ x 7 in.). Finely rendered in grisaille with highlighting in white and pale ochre. Mounted, extreme edges of the sheet with traces of adhesive, partly obscuring the caption.
A QUINTESSENTIAL DEPICTION OF THE LEGENDARY DETECTIVE and his ubiquitous companion, Doctor Watson. Paget's distinctive depictions of Holmes established the classic, unmistakable images of the great sleuth. Remarkably, although he created over 350 illustrations for the Holmes stories, only about 30 are known to survive, attesting a tragically small survival rate. PAGET'S HOLMES DRAWINGS ARE VERY RARE. This iconic rendering depicts the interior of a railroad compartment, the glass on one door lettered "Smoking" (backwards). Both men are seated on banquets, facing each other. Watson, with his characteristic Derby hat, reclines on the bench with legs crossed, a lit cigar in his left hand. Holmes in his famed Deerstalker hat, leans forward, his hands suggesting that he is revealing something of urgent import.
The dialogue which furnished the basis for the scene is described: [Watson] "You have formed a theory, then?" [Holmes] "At least I have got a grip of the essential facts of the case. I shall enumerate them to you, for nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person, and I can hardly expect your co-operation if I do not show you the position from which we start." [Watson] "I lay back against the cushions, puffing at my cigar, while Holmes, leaning forward, with his long, thin forefinger checking off the points upon the palm of his left hand, gave me a sketch of the events which had led to our journey."
References: Census of Paget drawings, by Randall Stock: Http://www.bestofsherlock.com. "The Sidney Paget drawing is one of only four known to still exist that shows Holmes with his iconic deerstalker."
Provenance: Estate of Adrian Conan Doyle -- Norman S. Nolan, M.D., B.S.I. purchased in 1974 -- Diane Nolan