Review: The Complete Paget Porfolio

When I first saw the earlier adverts for The Complete Paget Portfolio I was excited and the book does not disappoint.

The Sidney Paget Holmes drawings are, in my opinion, definitive. They set the standard for depictions of Holmes in pretty much all media. As such I really want to know all I can about them.

So what do you get in this, admittedly, not cheap book?

To begin with you get all Paget's illustrations, as depicted in The Strand, in the best possible quality. This alone makes this book the definitive tome for these illustrations. Regrettably the only text accompaniment you get to most of the illustrations is their captions. That said, it was probably far from practical to do otherwise without creating a book too expensive to ship.

The book really comes into its own in two areas. The first is where photographs are shown of the original objects depicted in the illustrations. Examples of this being Sidney Paget's riding crop that went on to appear in illustrations for The Speckled Band or the wicker chair Holmes was depicted sitting in.

Strand vs Original (left) | Strand illustrations (right)
The second area is where the illustrations from The Strand are compared against the original Paget art work. Regrettably there are not as many of these as we Sherlockians would like. Surprisingly the engravers at The Strand, when converting the illustrations for use, actually improved upon Paget's original in some cases. They also failed to do so on occasion. When the book deals with the original illustrations we get more background on the image and we can sometimes see where Paget changed his mind and altered.

If you are an admirer of Paget's work this is a must buy book. True, the cost to ship from the US to Europe, on top of an already quite heavy cost price, may be off-putting. However, given the, I believe, modest print run, it's a cost the devotee will find worth making.

Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here

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