Perhaps the best-known denizens of
Victorian London are the fictional
consulting detective Sherlock Holmes
and his partner Dr. John Watson who
work from their lodgings at one of the
most famous addresses in London,
221B Baker Street.
Watson is a more human contrast to
Holmes's cold rationality. According
to Doyle, he recorded their adventures.
Conceived and brought to life by Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle in 1891, the
character of Holmes was based on
Doyle's teacher at Edinburgh
University, Dr. Joseph Bell .
Holmes is one of the most identifiable
characters in literature, with his
Inverness cape, Deerstalker hat,
Meerschaum pipe, magnifying glass
Others would identify him through such
common quotations as "Elementary, my
dear Watson" (which never actually
appears in the text), and "The game's
afoot" (which does).
Still others would recognize him by the
powers of observation and the
attention to detail that made it possible
for him to conclude a great deal about
a person on first contact.
In 1893, Doyle attempted to kill off his
creation, but public demand caused
him to bring him back in stories that
continued until 1927.
A number of actors have portrayed the
detective through the years, though
perhaps the most effective was Jeremy
Brett who played him on Granada
Television from 1984-94.
Recent Holmeses have been played by
Robert Downey, Jr. (Sherlock Holmes
and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of
Shadows) and Benedict Cumberbatch
A new TV series this fall, Elementary,
transfers the setting from Victorian
London to modern New York and
features Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes
and Lucy Liu as Watson.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (above), Jeremy
Robert Downey, Jr. (above) and
Benedict Cumberbatch (below),
Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu (right).