19 May 2004
DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS
Sir Arthur CONAN DOYLE. A collection of humorous sketches mostly of household and family subjects, with autograph captions, the majority on correspondence cards (two with autograph notes on verso), together with five watercolours and two paintings of historical or apocalyptic scenes, a few signed, -1930 and n.d.; with three autograph notes on pigments and oil painting.
Conan Doyle was evidently an inveterate cartoonist, and his little humorous sketches, usually on correspondence cards or writing paper, have a distinct charm. Many are on household or local subjects, showing the 'Meet of Lyndhurst Beaverhounds -- Waiting for the Beaver' [dated by Jean, February 1912], 'County Amusements. Bubb planting at night in the rain' (30 November 1926), 'Cows in the drive' and similar subjects. A satirical sketch (present in two versions), entitled 'May I introduce the new staff!' imagines the reaction of the household to his wife's suggestion that the servant problem at Bignell Wood be overcome by importing Africans. One charming two-page sequence shows the course of a day at Windlesham, beginning at 11.30, 'Where is Major Wood?' through to 10 pm, 'To Bed!' and 12.30 am, 'Getting the News!' (Conan Doyle reading newspapers in his bedroom).
Painting in watercolour and oils was a hobby begun in the last year of his life: the watercolours show a cataclysm and a destruction by volcanos (presumably related to the apocalyptic spirit messages of 'Phineas'), as well as more relaxing scenes of a cottage garden, a Viking landing party and a Regency 'Sparring Saloon'. Of the oils, one is annotated 'Sixth Attempt at oils. MacBeth on the Blasted Heath. ACD'; the second shows a devil perched on a cupola contemplating a town at night, with the title 'My Home-Town'. (24)
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