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London Sculptures : Sherlock Holmes by John Doubleday in Baker Street

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of London’s  most famous fictional characters is Sherlock Holmes created by Arthur Conan Doyle, despite his fame, there was no statue to the great detective in London until 1999. A statue was previously suggested by a number of writers including G. K. Chesterton but these suggestions came to nothing.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A campaign for a statue gained momentum in the late 1990s with Abbey National offering to fund the statue because of their connection with Holmes. Abbey National had their headquarters at 215-229 Baker Street and they employed a member of staff to respond to any letters addressed to Holmes at 221B.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The sculptor, John Doubleday who was commissioned for the project had already produced a statue of Holmes for the town of Meiringen in Switzerland, below the Reichenbach Falls whence the detective fell to his apparent death in the story “The Final Problem”.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The 3-metre-high (9.8 ft) statue entitled The Great Detective depicts Holmes wearing his deerstalker hat and holding a pipe in a traditional pose made famous by Sidney Paget, the illustrator of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories for The Strand Magazine.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The statue which was unveiled in 1999 is located outside Baker Street Station and has became a popular attraction for Sherlock Holmes fans from all over the world.

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Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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Book Review : Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz (Orion Books)

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One of the UK’s most successful writers and screenwriters, Anthony Horowitz returns to the world of 19th century London and the world of Sherlock Holmes with his new novel Moriarty.

The novel is set a few days after the events at the Reichenbach Falls which resulted in the death of Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty.  The death of Moriarty creates an opportunity for other criminals to fill the criminal mastermind vacuum in London and Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase travels to London in pursuit of a new criminal mastermind with murderous intentions.

Chase also travels to the Reichenbach Falls pondering on the death of Holmes and Moriarty and relates his meeting with Detective Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard in the crypt of St Michael’s church in Meiringen, within the crypt lies the body of James Moriarty.

Chase informs Athelney Jones that although one criminal mastermind may be dead, another American criminal mastermind had relocated in London and was planning to extend his corrupt empire. Altheney Jones, a student of Holmes’ methods of detection and Frederick Chase eventually  decide to form an alliance to fight the new mysterious mastermind. Chase proposed a toast ‘ To the capture of  ‘Clarence Devereux’ and ‘to the two of us, Scotland Yard and Pinkerton’s working together. ‘

What follows is a series of incidents that lead our heroes deeper into the darkest corners of the capital hunting for the shadowy mysterious figure of Clarence Devereux and his associates.  Some savage murders shock the two detectives, Chase arriving at the scene to an awaiting Altheney Jones remarks  ‘ his face – pale and disgusted – warned me that this was a scene of horror which he , with all his experience, had never encountered before’.

A dinner with the Altheney Jones in Camberwell gives Chase some insight into the Detective Inspectors character when Mrs Altheney Jones confides that it was her husbands failure to impress Sherlock Holmes in their meetings that drove him on to try to replicate Holmes’ success.

However as body count rises and the net closes, the ghosts of Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty pervade the ongoing developments  leading to a shocking denouement.

Anthony Horowitz manages to create an homage to the world of Conan Doyle’s ‘great detective’, but also produces a thrilling plot with a series of twist and turns. Followers of the original Holmes stories will be familiar with a number of characters  that reappear in this book which add to the sense that the Victorian world of Holmes is being recreated faithfully.

However for all the Holmes’ references, it is the unlikely partnership of Altheney Jones and Frederick Chase that is central to this intriguing mystery. The different approaches of the Pinkerton man and the Holmes’ disciple compliment each other and provide considerable impetus in the investigations. An ingenious touch is that Altheney Jones himself features in a couple of Holmes’ stories, one real and one invented and featured at the end of the book.

This book will appeal to the many Holmes aficionado’s  but can also be read as an exciting and fast-moving thriller, Howowitz brings all his writing  and dramatic skills to structure a well paced, intricately plotted and knowledgable book that will delight and surprise in equal measure.

 Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

if you would like to find out more about the book or buy a copy, visit the Orion website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.

To find out more visit the website here

Book Review : Sherlock Holmes, The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die ( Ebury Press / Museum of London)

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Sherlock Holmes is one of the great fictional characters of British literature, whose popularity has endured for over the last 100 years. Part of the character’s popularity is his appearance in the numerous film, TV and theatre adaptations.
For the first time in over 60 years, the character becomes the subject of a major exhibition at the Museum of London. To accompanying the exhibition, the curator Alex Werner has compiled this book which explores how Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation of Sherlock Holmes can only be fully understood in the context of the transformation of London into a centre of Empire. The book features articles written by leading experts, headed by Sir David Cannadine, and offers some new insights into the famous detective and explores some of the real life characters and events that influenced the fiction.

The first article in the book is entitled “A Case of Mistaken Identity” written by Sir David Cannadine which considers ” how the late 1880s were a remarkable and transformative era in the history of London. ”  This transformation consolidated London’s position as not just a national capital but also the centre of the British Empire. However for all the wealth being accrued, it was the concerns of the poverty and crime that made many of the headlines. It is out of this crucible of wealth and poverty that Conan Doyle developed the Sherlock Holmes stories. Sir David Cannadine makes the important point that it is important to distinguish between Holmes supposed encyclopaedic knowledge of London and Conan Doyle’s limited knowledge of the capital city. In many ways it is ” misleading literary sleight of hand” because Conan Doyle only lived in London for a total of four years and Holmes knowledge is inferred rather than proved by numerous evidence of actual places. Many people have pointed out that many of the Holmes stories took place outside of the London often in Surrey and Sussex, areas that Conan Doyle was very familiar with.

John Stokes in his contribution ” The Bohemian Habits of Sherlock Holmes ” suggests that Holmes’ complex and idiosyncratic behaviour was part of a wider Bohemian movement which cherished individualism, freedom from family responsibilities and playing around with different identities. Stokes also points out that the Holmes often followed the bohemian habit of lounging, loafing and idling which contrasted with his other periods of intense action when he was on a case.

Alex Werner , the curator of the Museum of London exhibition explores ” Sherlock Holmes, Sidney Paget and the Strand Magazine ” and suggests that although ” The detective story was all the rage by the 1880s ” it was the combination of the character, Sidney Paget and the Strand magazine that elevated Sherlock Holmes to the status of the ‘Great Detective’. Sidney Paget’s illustrations in the Strand provided the visual interpretations of Holmes and Watson that would provide the template for the many subsequent interpretations.

If Sidney Paget provides the characters visual template, Pat Hardy in her section called ‘The Art of Sherlock Holmes” investigates how artists and photographers began to record their impressions of London and how these began to be associated with the Holmes stories themselves. The abiding impression of the Holmes stories was “the atmospheric fog and mist, which seems to envelop the city”. Artists such as Monet, Whistler, Pennell and the photography of  Alvin Langdon Coburn produced visual interpretations that illustrate atmosphere and mood rather than straightforward representations.

The success of Sherlock Holmes was a double-edged sword for Conan Doyle, it provided financial security but did not satisfy his ambition to considered ‘a serious writer’. Clare Pettit in the section ‘Throwaway Holmes’ considers this dilemma and how Conan Doyle’s solution to kill off Holmes was to backfire by increasing interest in the character rather than diminish it. When Conan Doyle brings Holmes back to life, it is within the pages of the Strand magazine in self-contained short stories as opposed to the more common serial. In the increasingly information heavy age, this fitted perfectly into the craze for the light reading of Newspapers and Magazines.
Many thought this information was disposable but Holmes himself builds up scrapbooks of information garnered from newspapers. Paradoxically for Conan Doyle it was the success of the Holmes stories in the magazines that was taking readers away from ‘serious writing’.

However the success of Sherlock Holmes did not just rely on the printed work, at the beginning of the twentieth century the embryonic Film industry began to use the stories. Nathalie Morris in the section entitled ‘Silent Sherlocks : Holmes and Early Cinema charts this relationship, the first known film to feature the character of Sherlock Holmes was the 1900 American Film, Sherlock Holmes Baffled. Many others followed but were generally parodies or sketches but more serious versions began to appear which often pitted Holmes against other fictional characters.
In 1911, Conan Doyle sold the Holmes film rights to French Company Eclair but other companies still used the stories, William Gillette who had played Holmes successfully on stage starred in a version in 1915. However it was when British Company Stoll bought the rights to some of the stories that a number of featured length film  were produced.
Most of the versions stayed more or less true to the stories but it was to be a theme up to the present day that many interpretations gave the characters modern settings and modern dilemma’s. Television followed the same path illustrating that Holmes and Watson could not be tied down into one era or even country but became global icons.

Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes have been the subject of countless books, films and television programmes but rarely the subject of an exhibition that bring many of these elements together. Both the exhibition and the book offer new insights into one of the most enduring fictional characters. Calling on the work of experts in the field, this book is full of interesting narratives and a wide range of stunning illustrations which attempt to discover some of the key elements in the character’s development  and the environment that was crucial to its success.

This book will appeal both to Holmes’ aficionado’s and those who would like to find out more about the ‘Great Detective’. It is an authoritative  and highly readable investigation into one of literatures most enigmatic characters.

 Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to find out more about the book or buy a copy, visit the Ebury Press website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Exhibition Review : Sherlock Holmes, The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die at the Museum of London – 17 Oct 2014 to 12 April 2015

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The Museum of London have unveiled their much-anticipated Sherlock Holmes exhibition which opens to the general public on Friday 17th October. The exhibition opens at a time when the popularity of Sherlock Holmes has risen once again, in no small part thanks to recent TV adaptations and Hollywood films, however as the exhibition shows the character has fascinated audiences for over 125 years on the page, stage, screen and radio.

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The exhibition pays homage to the many interpretations of the character with a film section which shows some of the films and exhibits an assortment of original film posters from all over the world.
It was an actor, Orson Welles in 1938 who coined the phrase “The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die”, which is the underlying theme of the exhibition.
Although Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, Conan Doyle borrowed heavily from his own experiences and the characters of those around him.

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One of the star exhibits is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s notebook, which contains the first ever lines of a Sherlock Holmes story. Other manuscripts and notebooks show how the characters of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson developed.

In the exhibition there are a page of notes, last on public display in the 1951 Festival of Britain, where Conan Doyle refers to “Sherrinford Holmes” and “Ormond Sacker”, who would later become Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. The page is on loan from the heirs of Anna Conan Doyle, and its literary significance is compounded by a handwritten note accompanying the page by his son, Adrian Conan Doyle. It reads: “very precious, the original page on which my father originated the name Sherlock Holmes and the opening scene of A Study in Scarlet.”

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The illustrator of The Strand Magazine stories was Sidney Paget, and his work especially his Portrait of Conan Doyle and his drawings which dominated people’s perception of Holmes are an important part of the exhibition.

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Another important aspect of the stories was London itself and forms the middle section of the exhibition ‘The London of Sherlock Holmes’. Using the Museum of London’s considerable collection of photographs, maps, paintings, prints and drawings together with loans from museums, galleries and private collections from all over the world, this section provides real life context to the fictional stories.

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The paintings and drawings especially give resonance to how London, centre of the British empire was developing at a dizzying pace but still suffered from the pollution  of fogs and smoke that became synonymous with the Holmes stories. One of the main highlights in this section is ‘Pont de Londres’ (Charing Cross Bridge, London) (1902) by Claude Monet, other works by John O’Connor, James McNeill Whistler, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Joseph Pennell, Spencer Gore and John Anderson give a wide cross-section of London streets and landmarks as do the photographs and postcards.

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The exhibition section of ‘The Many Sides of Sherlock Holmes’ explores the Victorian and Edwardian London world that provided the crucible out of which Holmes ‘s world view developed . Items include the automaton ‘Psycho’, a violin owned by Jeremy Bentham, a model of a hansom cab, a phrenological head, a telegraphic receiver, a theatrical wig worn by Sir Henry Irving as well as a number of different costume outfits suitable for Holmes in disguise.

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The exhibition considers Holmes’ five main traits were: Holmes the mastermind, the forensic scientist, the Bohemian soul, the model Englishman and the master of disguise. Highlights include the iconic Belstaff coat and Derek Rose dressing gown worn by Benedict Cumberbatch, and the ‘Wall of Rats’ set from the BBC Sherlock series . In the Bohemian section is the first page of the manuscript of ‘The Sign of Four’  which offers the first sight of one of Holmes’ most controversial habit, using cocaine.

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The exhibition’s final section, ‘The Immortal Sherlock Holmes’ is illustrated by an 1804 painting by J.M.W. Turner of the Great Falls , it was at these falls that Conan Doyle ‘kills’ Holmes with his fight with Professor Moriarty. But the character was far too popular to die easily and Conan Doyle resurrected him for further adventures. The exhibition ends as it starts by reflecting on the longevity of the creation and its global appeal. Sherlock Holmes certainly is the ‘man who never lived and will never die.’

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This exhibition, the biggest on Sherlock Holmes for 60 years offers a wide range of interest to Sherlock Holmes aficionado’s but also to the general public.
The multi media presentation brings to life the characters reincarnations over 125 years. Not surprisingly the London section is comprehensive and offers real insights into the growth of the modern city. However it is probably the many sides of Sherlock Holmes section that will intrigue most with its combination of the weird and wonderful of Victorian and Edwardian life. Conan Doyle and Holmes were complex characters but the exhibition successfully provides new insights and exhibits that will amaze and delight.

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There is no doubt the exhibition will be very popular and it may be advisable to book tickets early, the character’s global appeal will mean many London visitors will have the exhibition down as a ‘must see’.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If would like further information or to book tickets , visit the Museum of London website here

Adult tickets are £12 (£10.90 without donation)

concession tickets (ages 12-15, students, over 60, unwaged and registered disabled) £10 (£9 without donation)

and flexible family tickets for 3-6 people (must include at least one child and one adult) are £9.50 per person (£8.50 per person without donation)

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Sherlock Holmes Exhibition at the Museum of London from Friday 17 October 2014 – Sunday 12 April 2015,

SherlockThe Museum of London have released some details about their widely anticipated Sherlock Holmes Exhibition in October.

It will be the first Sherlock Holmes Exhibition in the UK for over 60 years and allows the Museum to draw on their extensive Victorian and Edwardian collections.

The Exhibition will consider the Sherlock Holmes character and his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but perhaps look more closely at the city that formed the backdrop to many of the stories.

London in the Victorian and Edwardian age will be investigated through paintings, photographs, prints and a wide range of artefacts.

Museum of London objects for Sherlock Holmes Exhibition

It is within 19th century London that the defining character of Holmes was developed reflecting the Imperial power of Britain and the  growing  acceptance of scientific methods to deal with many of societies problems. It will also investigate how Conan Doyle used his medical knowledge and knowledge of the theatre to put the final touches to Holmes’s complex persona.

Some highlights already announced are :

Portrait of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- 1897 - Sidney Paget

A rare oil on canvas portrait of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle painted by Sidney Paget in 1897, which has never been on public display in the UK

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Original pages from Edgar Allan Poe’s manuscript of The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) never before seen in the UK

 

The original manuscript of The Adventure of the Empty House (1903)

 

The iconic Belstaff coat and the Derek Rose camel dressing gown worn by Benedict Cumberbatch, from the Sherlock BBC television series

For further details visit the Museum of London website here