Holmes and Holmes look-alikes

It is interesting to note that the job illustrating Sherlock Holmes that was to make Paget’s reputation was originally meant to go to his younger brother Walter. The Strand’s art editor did not remember Walter’s first name, and when he sent the letter offering the job to the Paget home addressed only to “Mr. Paget”, Sidney opened it and assumed it was meant for him. However, Walter still had a role to play since he is generally thought to have served as a model for Holmes, even though Sidney Paget himself denied this.

Whether or not Holmes’ famous profile did in fact originally belong to Walter Paget, it can’t be denied that it was a face that Paget used often. Consider these Holmes look-alikes from Paget’s non-Holmesian works.

Sidney Paget
Illustration from “Strange Studies from Life” by Arthur Conan Doyle.
In the Strand, April 1901

Sidney Paget
Illustration from “The Telegram” by Robert Livingston Beecher.
In The Sphere, November 25, 1905

Holmes’s ascetic profile is even recognizable in disguise. Note how closely an undercover Holmes resembles Max Pemberton’s “cripple at the mill” in this curious pair of images:

Sidney Paget
Illustration from “The Cripple at the Mill” by Max Pemberton.
In the Strand, September 1895

Sidney Paget
Illustration from the Sherlock Holmes story “The Man with the Twisted Lip” by Arthur Conan Doyle.
In the Strand, December 1891

Continue >>

Source: Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, Periodicals and Newspaper Centre, Toronto Public Library.