Sherlock Book Reviews - Sherlock Holmes A Study In Illustrations Volume 4

Posted by Steve Emecz on

David Marcum

I’m always stunned at the valuable work Mike Foy is accomplishing with these massive and fun volumes of Holmes illustrations from around the world and across the years. When the first volume came out, it was amazing – and then came Volumes 2 and 3, which were even more so. Now, with Volume 4, he and MX Publishing have once again outdone themselves.

This oversized treasury delves into fascinating images from French, Brazilian, Czech, and American illustrators – each enlarged on its own page for maximum enjoyment and examination. Through these books, I’ve already been able to see illustrations of Our Heroes’ adventures that I never knew about, let alone to be able to study in depth. I don’t know how Mike Foy finds them all – but I hope that he hasn’t found all of them yet, because now I’m very much looking forward to Volume V. Keep up the good work, Mr. Foy. You’re doing an invaluable Sherlockian service!


Sherlock Holmes Magazine (Issue 14)

"The series continues with a new selection of artwork from the likes of Gastao Simoes da Fonseca, Josef Friedrich and Pierre Georges Dutriac"


Sherlock Holmes Society of London Winter Journal 2023 

Having long been interested in the illustrations created for the canonical stories, I welcomed Mr Foy’s first volume two years ago, and have been delighted and impressed by those that have followed. We have admirable contributions from Americans, notably Charles Raymond Macaulay for The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur I Keller for The Valley of Fear, John R Flanagan (Australian born) for “The Illustrious Client” and “The Three Garridebs”, and four artists who shared twenty-five stories published in the San Francisco Call, as well as B Widman, many of whose pictures copy the work of Sidney Paget.

But there is, as the editor says, a very European feel to this volume. For Britain, H.M. Brock and Joseph Simpson represent The Strand Magazine, with “The Red Circle”. The prolific Czech artist Josef Friedrich takes his cue from Paget, without directly copying him; I particularly like his illustrations for A Study in Scarlet. And France provides many splendid illustrations by Pierre Georges Dutriac, Paul Henri Thiriat and Gaston Simoes da Fonseca, as well as the cartoon-like work of Solar d’Alba.

Like its predecessors, this volume isn’t perfect, but it enables us to study, enjoy and often marvel at depictions of Holmes and Watson that most of us will never have seen before. We should be grateful to Mike Foy and to MX Publishing.


Sherlock Holmes A Study in Illustrations Volume 4 is available from this site and also:

Amazon USA        Barnes and Noble

Amazon UK

So we are up to Volume 4 of Sherlock Holmes: A Study in illustrations and sorry to say we are back in the world of monochrome illustrations, and although some may say that we are now in the minor leagues, we have some fine collections to look at. This is a very eclectic  mix of talent and draws heavily on French Illustrators and so within our major artist is Brazilian-born French illustrator Gaston de Forseca and his remaining 128 images to complete his Sherlock Holmes work. Some of his illustrations are not particularly flattering (Lord Robert St. Simon) or where of incidents that are referred to in back stories (Apache attack on Frank Moulton) or of people who are mentions in passing (Francis Prosper) or my favourite little Edward Rucastle. 

Next we have 100 illustrations from Czech born Josef Freidrich and while his drawings may remind you of similar scenes from Sidney Paget, they are different, as if they were taken from a different camera angle. These are the two big major players in this book as we look at 6 illustrations from a French newspaper by Solar D’alba.

We cross to America and 13 book illustrations from Charles Raymond Macauley from the 1905 edition of the Return of Sherlock Holmes. Still in America John Richard Flanagan next takes to the stage with work he did for Collier’s magazine, after Frederic Dorr Steele left. He did 8 illustrations and was originally from Australia.

The next 4 illustrators share a common publication, namely the San Francisco Call, they are Stanley E. Armstrong, R. Thomson, Reginald Gordon Russom and Walter W. Francis and this group have  55 images between them.

We continue with another American illustrator, Joseph Clement Coll, more famous for his other Doyle stories produced a montage of his work with an illustration of Sherlock Holmes.

Back to France with 20 illustrations from Pierre George Dutriac for the 13 stories in the Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes , published in 1921.

Back to America and the St. Louis Republic newspaper 1902 and 13 drawings of the Hound of the Baskervilles by B. Widman and then in 1907 Paul Henri Thiriat illustrated a French serialized version of the same story.

Across the Channel to England where Henry Matthew Brock and Joseph William Simpson illustrated the red circle in the strand.

Finally we have Arthur Ignatius Keller and his 11 illustrations from the New York Tribune in 1914.

This makes a total of 398 illustrations for this volume, and that’s it until Volume 5.


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