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The View from the East End (10)

By Inspector Hopkins

April 10, 2005

"The Many Facets of Sherlockiana"

Part 7: Sherlockian Collections

Another part of what Sherlockiana is all about, is collecting things that relate to it!

I cannot add very much at all to what our "Manic Collector", Don Hobbs, has done in this field, and I certainly defer to his much greater knowledge and skill in this regard. But please let me share my thoughts on this topic.

Probably the easiest thing for the newer Sherlockian to collect is books. There is definitely no shortage of them out there, some hundreds upon hundreds of them, and they are reasonably easy to obtain from and used book-shops, etc. Even *I* have a few books, but books are not too exciting . . .

And there is certainly collectible artwork. Many pictures and renditions of Baker Street and the famous rooms, as well as many portraits of Canonical characters abound. I can attest to a great source of this from my friend Chuck Kovacic out there in Los Angeles, but then again, you need some wall space to display them properly . . .

You can also collect copies of the "Baker Street Journal" or Brad’s "Holmes and Watson Reports", or Peter Blau’s newsletters. These publications contain great Sherlockian scholarship and are useful and interesting to the Sherlockian student, but it’s tough to quickly locate a particular article sometimes, and they can be a problem to store and display . . .

I have made a sub-hobby out of collecting the Jeremy Brett movies, and am pleased to report that I finally found and purchased all of them! But again, DVD’s or video tapes are not really too exciting. . .

And I absolutely cannot top Paul Churchill’s "Evidence Boxes" which I told you about before. Besides, he filled his whole house up with Sherlockian stuff, remember?

I wish that I had the space to have a Sherlockian "den". . . (*sigh*)

This would be a goodly sized room, filled with shelves and wall space, where I could save things related to Sherlock Holmes. I would paint it a nice mauve-burgundy colour as a background, followed by lighter-coloured accent areas. There would be spaces and niches and room for books and periodicals, a bust of Napoleon, maps of London, and all kinds of other neat stuff like dark lanterns, hunting crops and Webley revolvers. I would have a set of Sidney Paget’s illustrations all along one wall, arranged in an interesting pattern. . .

I mean, really . . . if I had that kind of room, then I’d probably go hog wild and do my very own recreation of the Sitting Room at 221B! Ha! With gusto! I’d have a nice crackling "fire" going on the grate (light bulbs, etc) and keep my bills stuck to the mantel with a jackknife. I’d have a nice mahogany desk (and ergonomically correct chair) with a burgundy-coloured leather writing surface, and nice gold-nibbed fountain pens, so I could correspond with my Sherlockian friends. (Actually, I guess, I would have my "cool" laptop on it, with which I’m writing these very words to you now). Of course, there’d have to be a Tantalus with something cheery in it for me to drink on these dreary Jersey nights. . . .

I would have a bell rope, with which I could summon Missus Hopkins downstairs in case I should ever need any additional assistance . . .

I can even picture my putter leaning against my nice mahogany desk, waiting for me to practice putting for my eventual excursion to my local golf course (whenever it finally stops raining).

Nice dreams, eh?

But . . . being the collector at heart that I am at least, and having to deal with reality, I have taken to "collecting", so to speak, the weekly posts that the moderator of the Hounds of the Internet makes, and the topics posed by our Chat Room moderators. I save recent e-mails from my Sherlockian friends, and news from Scion societies. I have a whole list of favourite web sites stored under AOL. I save (collect) all these on my hard drive in the hope that someday, I will/can organize/sort them into something cool and useful. At least this way, I can carry around my very own 221B room with me wherever I go. Sort of like my very own version of Watson’s tin dispatch box in a 13" x 11" x 2" format.

Oh well . . . perhaps the best Sherlockian collection is a "virtual" one, after all.

Until next time, and also wishing you happy Sherlockian collecting, I am,

Yours faithfully,