Sherlock Holmes Fandom
Since Sherlock Holmes was introduced to the public in The Study in Scarlet, first published in 1887 thousands of people have taken part in a Sherlock Holmes ‘fan’ culture. They do this through collecting, writing fan fiction, creating art work, making pilgrimages and other activities.
Many early Sherlock Holmes fans were actively involved with the stories. Most famously when Holmes was killed off in 1893 some wrote to Arthur Conan Doyle to complain and called him a ‘brute’. Their support encouraged Conan Doyle to bring Holmes back in 1901.
In the 1930s Sherlock Holmes groups began to spring up all over the world. These included The Baker Street Irregulars in the US and an early version of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London in the UK. Members had dinners together and wrote essays that play ‘The Great Game’, which is to treat Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as real people. This tradition continues today and many of these essays are published by Sherlock Holmes groups in dedicated journals.
Many fans and Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts now connect online through websites dedicated to fan fiction and fan art, and social media. These creative works span a range of genres and styles and some celebrate adaptations as well as the original stories.
Items on display are chosen from the Arthur Conan Doyle Richard Lancelyn Green Bequest Collection, this exhibition is based upon Sherlock Holmes fandom from 1897 to the present day.Featured items include a very rare set of Sherlock Holmes postcards featuring the illustrations of Sidney Paget; a tea towel by Jackie Goodrum based upon the set of BBC's Sherlock tv series; phials filled with water an gravel from the Reichenbauch Falls, the site of Holmes' fight with Moriarty, and a bust of a young Jeremy Brett (with more than a passing resemblance to Benedict Cumberbatch).
The exhibition is available to see in person at Portsmouth Museum (free entry, open 10am–5.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday and on bank holiday Mondays).
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Post box collection times
Box containing samples from The Reichenbauch Falls
Tea towel designed by Jackie Goodrum (2016) based on the set of the BBC series, Sherlock
A celebration of Sherlock Holmes items held in the Collection
Made from fibreglass to resemble bronze.
Hunting through the stores for items to display
The tricky task of finding the right place for each item on the stand
Released by The Strand Magazine to celebrate the release of The Return of Sherlock Holmes.
Essays first published in 1934