Back in July, in a post on Sidney Paget, I wrote “Along with Frederic Dorr Steele, Paget is certainly one of the two most significant illustrators of the great detective.” Having covered Paget, now we look at Dorr Steele.
In 1893, Doyle, feeling that writing Holmes stories was holding him back from more important works, did the unthinkable: he killed the world’s most popular detective. In 1902, he revived Holmes for one adventure in his most famous story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, with good old Sidney Paget illustrating again. Doyle made it clear this was an earlier case of Holmes’ and that the great detective was, in fact, still dead.
The stories from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes had been illustrated by various artists in America, where they appeared in different magazines and newspapers. There was no sole source for the stories, as there was in England with The Strand. For the most part, the drawings were rather uninspired
Some of Paget’s were also used, but often just a few, not the full set for each story. Thus, a common image of Holmes had not evolved from the drawings. There was no Sidney Paget in the United States. But there was about to be!