Sidney Edward Paget (1860-1908) was the son of a vestry clerk of Clerkenwell, in the heart of London. Like two of his brothers (see for example our introduction to Walter 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

Related Material

Themes and motifs in the Sherlock Holmes illustrations


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.

“A Scandal in Bohemia”

“The Red-Headed League”

“A Case of Identity”

“The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet”

“The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”

“The Adventure of Silver Blaze”

“The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”

“The Adventure of the Yellow Face”

“The Boscombe Valley Mystery”

“The Five Orange Pips”

“The Man with the Twisted Lip”

“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”

“The Adventure of the Speckled Band”

“The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb”

“The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”

“The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk”

“The Adventure of the ‘Gloria Scott’”

“The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual”

“The Reigate Puzzle”

“The Adventure of the Crooked Man”

“The Adventure of the Resident Patient”

“The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter”

“The Adventure of the Naval Treaty”

“The Adventure of the Final Problem”

“The Adventure of the Empty House”

“The Adventure of the Norwood Builder”

“The Adventure of the Dancing Men”

“The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”

“The Adventure of the Priory School”

“The Adventure of Black Peter”

“The Hound of the Baskervilles”


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 24 October 2016