Sidney Paget's Original Drawing - The Death of Sherlock Holmes

pagetdrawing.jpg (76136 bytes)
(Courtesy of Sotheby's)

The Original Drawing of Holmes and Moriarty in Mortal Combat at the Edge of the Reichenbach Falls sold by Sotheby's in New York on 16 November 2004 for $220,800It's hammer price of US$190,000 was more than double the pre-sale high estimate.

The drawing measures 10.5 x 6.75 inches and formed part of the Maurice F. Neville Collection of Modern Literature. It was used to illustrate the story "The Final Problem" and was completed in two sections which are separated with an even black line.  Perhaps the most iconic of all Sherlock Holmes illustrations, it first appeared as the frontispiece to the December 1893 issue of The Strand Magazine and was later used as the frontispiece for the 1894 collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

Further lots:

The manuscript for "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist" sold at the high estimate of US$300,000 and realized US$344,000 including the buyer's premium.  The manuscript, which lacks the final two pages for the story, thus sold for more than $8,000 per page.

 A single leaf from the manuscript for "The Hound of the Baskervilles" realized US$78,000.  The hammer price of US$65,000 was more than double the pre-sale high estimate.

Conan Doyle Sale Results:

Lot

Price

Description

503

$24,000

Autograph letter signed, 28 July 1892.

504

$3,600

Signed copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

505

$220,800

Sidney Paget drawing of "The Death of Sherlock Holmes"

506

$8,400

Autograph letter signed, 3 November 1894.

507

$78,000

The Hound of the Baskervilles manuscript leaf.

508

$8,400

Signed copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

509

$344,000

"The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist" manuscript.

 Lot 509: "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist" manuscript

This lot includes two exercise books with the first 40 pages of the 42-page manuscript.  Conan Doyle wrote this story in three Paragon Exercise Books.  The final two pages, with about 250 words, were in the third exercise book and were separated from the other books many years ago.  The first 40 pages are in two books of 20 leaves each.  There is also an autograph title page.  The two books were bound for ACD in plain vellum and are 8 x 6.25 inches.  Conan Doyle signed this manuscript in four places, with "Arthur Conan Doyle | Undershaw | Hindhead" written on the cover of each exercise book.

 The manuscript has some 70 revisions, including changes to the story title and to the villain's name.  The story was originally entitled "The Adventure of the Solitary Man," but ACD crossed through the last word and substituted "Cyclist."  Andrew J. Peck highlighted this change in the June 1972 Baker Street Journal, noting that it showed the ambiguous title reference was to Bob Carruthers and not Violet Smith.  In another interesting alteration, Conan Doyle initially called the villain "Murphy" for a good part of the story, but later revised this to "Woodley."

Although the date of writing is not listed, it was written in 1903 and first published in December 1903.  The manuscript was sold several times in the 1920's, presented to Cornell University by William G. Mennen and deaccessioned in 1979.

Lot 505: "The Death of Sherlock Holmes" by Sidney Paget

This drawing is the original Sidney Paget artwork used to illustrate the story "The Final Problem."  It is a pen & ink and wash drawing that's 10.5 x 6.75 inches.  The drawing was done in two sections with the lower section being 3.375 inches and separated with an even black line.  It is signed "Sidney Paget | 1893" by the artist in the lower left corner. 

 Sidney Edward Paget (1860-1908) is probably the most famous illustrator of Sherlock Holmes.  He illustrated all the Holmes stories in The Strand Magazine until his death.  This drawing was the first to include his signature and the first Holmes illustration to appear as a frontispiece in The Strand Magazine.   It was later also used as the frontispiece for the 1894 collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.  The drawing shows Holmes and Moriarty locked in mortal combat at the Reichenbach Falls.

The drawing was offered by Lew David Feldman (House of El Dieff, Inc.) in the 1970s.  It is estimated to sell at $60,000-$80,000.

Lot 507: Leaf from the original autograph manuscript of The Hound of the Baskervilles

This lot consists of one page from the original autograph manuscript of The Hound of the Baskervilles.   The page is for the beginning of Chapter XII (Death on the Moor) and continues until Watson's reply of "Exactly."   It is on blue-ruled tan paper of 12.75 x 7.875 inches and includes two revisions and two corrections by Conan Doyle.

Written in 1901, the story was published in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 through April 1902.  Chapter XII appeared in the February 1902 issue.  McClure, Phillips published the American book edition in April 1902.  As part of their promotional campaign, single leaves from the manuscript were provided to American booksellers for window display.  The manuscript was never re-assembled and the only complete chapter is held at the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library.  The Baker Street Irregulars published a facsimile of that chapter in 2001.