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Sun
Jan 15 2012 11:00am

Designing Sherlock: The Influence of Sidney Paget

Just a guy and his pipe, so what?Who’s this?

You knew at first glance, didn’t you? Even without facial features or a corresponding story, it’s clear that this is a silhouette of Sherlock Holmes.

Full disclosure: I’ve never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories or novels. I’ve read Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald.” I’ve seen the first Robert Downey Jr. film, and plan on seeing the second. And, of course, I’ve seen the wonderful TV series written by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Yet, despite never having read a single word of Conan Doyle’s, I can describe what Sherlock Holmes looks like. Deerstalker cap. “Inverness” cape. This image of Sherlock, literature’s most famous detective, has come to be used like a proprietary eponym; as a symbol for detectives in general, or as an icon on the spines of books indicating that they are in the mystery genre. It could be argued, and has, that the person responsible for the look of Sherlock is as responsible as Doyle, if not more, for the character’s longevity in the pop culture consciousness.

Well, if that’s the case, I guess we’d better shine a spotlight on him during Sherlock Holmes week, huh? Let’s get to know famed illustrator, Sidney Paget.

Well, if that’s the case, I guess we’d better shine a spotlight on him during Sherlock Holmes week, huh? Let’s get to know famed illustrator, Sidney Paget.

To read the full article on Sidney Paget and designing Sherlock Holmes visit our sister science fiction and fantasy blog, Tor.com.