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Sherlock Holmes is focus of London museum show

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 20, 2014 at 10:35 am •  Published: May 20, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — The Museum of London is turning its magnifying glass on the most famous Londoner who never lived — Sherlock Holmes.

The museum on Tuesday announced an exhibition devoted to Arthur Conan Doyle's Victorian detective, featuring everything from hand-written manuscripts to the coat worn by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC series "Sherlock."

It's the first time the history museum has built a show around a fictional character. But Holmes is one of those rare creations who has long outlived his creator and captured the public imagination for more than a century.

"There are people out there who think he's a real person," said Alex Werner, the exhibition's lead curator. "His profile has never been higher."

Werner said with a new generation discovering the character through the BBC's "playful and reverential" adaptation, the timing seemed right for a major retrospective.

"This is the moment to say: He is one of London's icons. He helped make London what it is," Werner said.

The exhibition — which opens Oct. 17 and runs to April 12 — examines the character's origins, in a series of stories by doctor-turned-writer Conan Doyle, and his evolution through myriad stage and screen adaptations.

Werner said the aim was to "peel back the layers" of a character who is simultaneously cerebral sleuth, forensic scientist, drug-taking bohemian and archetypal Englishman.

The show draws liberally from the museum's large collection of Victorian costumes and artifacts, including a 19th-century syringe; Holmes infamously relieved boredom with a seven-percent solution of cocaine in water.

The Free Library of Philadelphia has loaned pages from Edgar Allan Poe's handwritten manuscript for the 1841 story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." It's often considered the first modern detective yarn and was a childhood favorite of Conan Doyle.

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