The first appearance of Sherlock Holmes in print has been faithfully reproduced in a facsimile copy by Portsmouth publisher Life Is Amazing.
Copies of the original magazine published for Christmas 1887 are famously rare. There are only 11 complete copies of the original magazine, and the last to come up at auction sold for $130,000 US. This unlimited edition facsimile gives collectors and fans of Sherlock Holmes the opportunity to buy a great-looking reproduction at a fraction of the price.
Written by Arthur Conan Doyle while he was a resident in Southsea, the book is a celebration of the rich literary heritage of the city of Portsmouth, whose other associated writers include Rudyard Kipling, H G Wells, Charles Dickens, and many others beside.
Having looked at various versions of the original, rare Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, that first appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual, 1887, I have created this restoration of the original artwork.
I was working from this out-of-copyright image:
I’ve stripped away the ageing which darkened the paper of the covers and put the whites back in. Suddenly the design makes complete sense. The white around the “BEETON’S CHRISTMAS ANNUAL” is of course a layer of snow on the letters. The white behind the main title makes the words jump out.
One of the things I really enjoy about the Victorian era is this lovely clear design ethos, that really is eyecatching.
While I was working on this, my heart quickened with excitement as I suddenly “got” the design. Great stuff from those wonderful Victorian designers!