Sherlock Holmes: ‘The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die’ Exhibition Review

October 28, 2014, Article by Richard in Books, Culture, Exhibitions, Uncategorized

We’d checked out the place where he gets his bacon butty in the morning, and now we were off to the Museum of London to see a thrilling exhibition that leaves no stone unturned in the quest to show us the real Sherlock Holmes.

The joy of ‘Sherlock Holmes: The Man who Never Lived and Never Died’ is in the perfect balance of showing us the fictional Holmes and the real world that he inhabited. For example, one of the most fascinating exhibits – the piece of paper where Arthur Conan Doyle first sketched out an idea for ‘Mr Sherrinford Holmes’ and his sidekick ‘Ormond Sacker’ – sits neatly near a wonderful Turner painting of the The Reichenbach Falls.

The early Doyle details and early artefacts sit artfully alongside Benedict Cumberbatch’s now iconic trench coat and scarf. Along the way there is a glut of typewriters, telephones and contemporary maps that add a wonderful richness.

Inevitably, given that the lads at Guinness have Sherlock down as the most played character in screen history, there are video clips galore. It’s certainly interesting to see the difference in how, say, Christopher Lee tackled the character as opposed to Mr Cumberbatch, but to some extent it did show up how the many actors who’ve played Dr Watson over the years have really only been forced to articulate wide-eyed, jowel-quivering incredulity (‘By Jove, Holmes. How could you possibly have known I’d had Findus Crispy Pancakes for dinner?’ Etc…).

This is an expertly collated exhibition that will appeal to die-hard Doyle fans and curious Cumberbatchians alike. One word of advice – take fifteen minutes or so to read The Adventure of the Dancing Men, one of Doyle’s 56 short Sherlock stories, which curls round the wall outside the exhibition. It’s a reminder of what a genius Doyle really was, and why Sherlock is such an enduring character.

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Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die is at the Museum of London until 12 April 2015
Book tickets here

IMAGES: Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock © Mr Pics /,
Baker Street station © littlesam /