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2nd year student Nicola Riley reports on her visit to the Museum of London exhibition on Sherlock Holmes
The Museum of London: ‘Sherlock Holmes:
The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die.’
For me, one of the
many things that I enjoy about going home for couple of days is checking the
‘Time Out,’ page on the Internet and having a peek at the popular events in
London that are occurring during the week. On this occasion, as I had a look on
the page The Museum of London’s ‘Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and
Will Never Die’ exhibition came to my attention. Also, as I live towards the
end of the Central line, it is incredibly easy for me to take a trip into
London for the day.
entering the exhibition itself, there was much excitement between my mum and
me, due to the entrance being a huge bookcase and the guide of the exhibition
requesting for us to find the doorway. When entering, I immediately saw the oil
painting of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dated from 1897 that hung upon the wall.
From the artist’s portrayal of Conan Doyle, he immediately comes across as a
man of intelligence and I thought that the artist’s portrayal of him was
particularly interesting as it also offered a look on Victorian portraits.
As we continued to
walk around the exhibition, the more and more knowledge we gained from the
character of Sherlock Holmes that we had not known before. There was a great
use of mixed media on display, from manuscripts to illustrations; to short
clips of Sherlock Holmes’ television series and films that have been produced
from different times; as well as, audio clips from the stories in the
background. By the Museum of London’s wide range of material, it created a huge
curiosity for me as it enabled me to understand the great impact that Conan
Doyle’s character, Sherlock Holmes, had upon society and the long line of films
adaptations and television series that have been produced as well as how the
figure of Sherlock Holmes has transcended over time.
I also appreciated
that there was not only the opportunity to view the excellent handwriting of
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original manuscripts, but to also have the chance to
glance upon the first credited detective fiction short story of Edgar Allan
Poe’s ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue.’ It is known that Conan Doyle was an
admirer of Poe’s work and of his creation of the brilliantly analytical
detective of Monsieur C. Dupin. Due to currently studying Conan Doyle’s ‘Hound
of the Baskervilles,’ and Poe’s ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue,’ in my Crime
fiction module with Charlotte Beyer, I found that aspect of exhibition most
engaging, as well as, having the chance to compare their markedly different
handwriting which I found most intriguing.
Playing on the wall
besides such manuscripts, there was a filmed interview with Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle from 1927 describing the growth of his creation, Sherlock Holmes, and the
response he had received from female fans that considered Sherlock Holmes to be
real. One reaction that I found particularly humorous was that a woman wrote to
him claiming that she would love to be Sherlock’s maid and that she had a great
hobby of bee keeping, as bee keeping had recently appeared in one of Conan
Doyle’s short stories at the time.
One of the rooms that
I found particularly interesting to explore was a collection of paintings of
London by a variety of artists, as it is known that London held a central role
within Conan Doyle’s stories. The Museum displayed Victorian London through
many illustrative and historical elements; my two personal favourites were an
etching of London from a bird’s eye view as seen from a hot air balloon in 1884
which men had to take shifts to complete over a period of months to Claude
Monet’s painting ‘Pont de Londres,’ capturing the thick fog of Victorian London
Continuing on from
this section of the exhibition, there were many props and costumes on display;
including the Belstaff coat and blue scarf that is used in BBC’s Sherlock series,
featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. As well as, forensic kits, photographs,
typewriters, and many other props used in other television and film
I personally believe
that the exhibition as a whole was appealing for not only fans of Conan Doyle’s
literary works, but as well as, for people that have an interest with the
Benedict Cumberbatch television series, the many film adaptations of Sherlock
Holmes and also the fascinating history of London. Furthermore, if you go to
visit the Museum of London, you are certainly in for a treat as it is a short
walk to St. Paul’s Cathedral or you can also cross over the Millennium Bridge
to the Tate Modern or the Globe Theatre after your visit to the Museum.