Sidney Edward Paget (1860-1908) was the son of a vestry clerk of Clerkenwell, in the heart of London. Following in two of his elder brothers' footsteps (see for example William Paget), he took up a career in art, and entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1881. He had already exhibited at the Royal Academy, and proceeded to win various awards at the Schools. He continued to exhibit his paintings at the Academy until 1905, half of them being portraits (see Pottle). However, as J. D. Milner wrote originally in the 1912 supplement to the Dictionary of National Biography:
It was as an illustrator that Paget won a wide reputation. His vigorous work as a black-and-white artist became well known not only in the United Kingdom but also in America and the colonies, by his drawings for the Pictorial World (1882), the Sphere, and for many of Cassell's publications. He also drew occasionally for the Graphic, the Illustrated London News, and the Pall Mall Magazine. Paget's spirited illustrations for Sir A. Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" and "Rodney Stone" in the Strand Magazine greatly assisted to popularise those stories. The assertion that the artist's brother Walter, or any other person, served as model for the portrait of "Sherlock Holmes" is incorrect.
Doyle's references to Holmes in his "grey travelling cloak and close-fitting cloth cap" in "The Boscombe Valley Mystery," and to his "ear-flapped travelling-cap" in "The Adventure of Silver Blaze," gave Paget the clue to the costume in which he depicted the famous detective on those occasions, and which, of course, "became his trademark" (Klinger 104, n. 10). See Paget's very similar illustrations for "We had the carriage to ourselves" in "The Boscombe Valley Adventure ," and "Holmes gave me a sketch of the events" in "The Adventure of Silver Blaze." — Jacqueline Banerjee
Themes and motifs in the Sherlock Holmes illustrations
- Paget's representations of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson together
- The disguises of Sherlock Holmes according to Sidney Paget
- Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and railways -- according to Sidney Paget
The images on the plates listed below come from the out-of-copyright Internet Archive online version of The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes, which reprints the pages of the stories and images from the 1890-91 Strand Magazine. The text quoted in the “Passage illustrated” section of each document has been taken from the Project Gutenberg The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes produced by an anonymous Project Gutenberg volunteer and Jose Menendez and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes produced by Angela M. Cable, and David Widger. — George P. Landow.
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes. “Reproduced from the original publication in The Strand Magazine with the classic illustrations by Sidney Paget.” Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, [after 1954]. Internet Archive version of a copy donated by Friends of the San Francisco Library. Web.
Klinger, Leslie S., ed. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories. New York and London: Norton, 2005.
Milner, J. D., rev. Mark Pottle. "Paget, Sidney (1860-1908)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (contains link to Milner's orginal entry). Online ed.
Last modified 18 December 2013