The Best of Sherlock Holmes

 

"The Illustrious Client" Manuscript:
A Gift to the National Library of Scotland

By Randall Stock, July 19, 2006 (revised 11/25/15)

 

The late Dame Jean Conan Doyle, the last surviving child of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, bequeathed her father's original manuscript for the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client" to the National Library of Scotland.  The executor of her estate, Charles Foley, presented the holograph manuscript to the Library on 30 June 2006.  It's one of the last Holmes manuscripts owned by the Conan Doyle family.

 

Collier's Weekly first published this story in November 1924.  A British version appeared three months later in The Strand Magazine.  It was included in the final collection of Holmes short stories, The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, in 1927.

 

The National Library of Scotland also holds the original Conan Doyle manuscript for "The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe" and around 60 Conan Doyle letters.

 

 

Illustrious Client Manuscript Description

 

The 38-page autograph manuscript is written in black ink on lined paper.  It's signed at end and dated as "Windlesham | Crowborough | July 1924."  Text appears on one side only and pages are numbered in pencil as 1-23, 23a, 24-29, 29a, and 30-36.  Most pages are 255mm x 200mm.  It's bound in white vellum with gilt titles and with one free endpaper at the beginning and end.  While it is a typical Conan Doyle manuscript in that there are no major plot or narrative revisions, there are more than 100 changes to the text and an alternate title ("The Adventure of the Blue Saucer") appears at the beginning of the manuscript.

 

See this "Illustrious Client" manuscript photo from a 2014 exhibition.

 

For more details about the manuscript, see the following articles and the News section below:

 

The Baker Street Journal, Vol. 57, No. 3 (Autumn 2007), pp. 44-51.

An Illustrious Manuscript by Randall Stock

Compares the manuscript with the published text and the manuscript for "The Three Garridebs," and discusses Conan Doyle's writing process.

 

Discover NLS, issue 3, winter 2006, pp. 14-17.

Forensic evidence from the Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes by Owen Dudley Edwards

Details and commentary on "The Illustrious Client" manuscript, with photos.

http://www.nls.uk/about/discover-nls/issues/discover-nls_03.pdf  (PDF: 17 pages; 1.4 MB)

http://www.nls.uk/media/22293/discover-nls_03.pdf   (PDF: 17 pages; 1.4 MB)

 

AMARC newsletter, Issue No. 47: October 2006, pp. 2-3.

"The adventure of the illustrious client" by Murray Simpson

The Head of Manuscripts at the National Library of Scotland writes about getting the manuscript.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/peter.kidd20/amarc/Newsletter47.pdf  (PDF: 188K)

http://www.amarc.org.uk/Newsletter47.pdf  (PDF: 188K)

 

 

Library website: http://www.nls.uk/

Library press release: http://www.nls.uk/news/press/2006/06/sherlock-holmes-manuscript-comes-to-the-national-library

 


 

Online news articles about the manuscript

 

The following reports were available online.

 

National Library of Scotland media release, 24 November 2015

Treat for Sherlock Holmes fans at National Library

Holmes manuscript and another Conan Doyle manuscript displayed 27 November 2015.

http://www.nls.uk/news/press/2015/11/conan-doyle

Related article with photos in The Scotsman

 

The Best of Sherlock Holmes, 17 October 2014

The Museum of London Sherlock Holmes Exhibition by Randall Stock

Includes photos of this manuscript and several others at this 2014-2015 exhibition.

http://www.bestofsherlock.com/ref/museum-london-2014.htm

 

The Guardian, 27 September 2014

Mystery of Arthur Conan Doyle's missing draft solved at last by Vanessa Thorpe

Mentions loan of manuscript for upcoming exhibition.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/28/sherlock-holmes-story-museum-of-london-conan-doyle

 

National Library of Scotland media release, 20 November 2009

Treasures on display this winter

Holmes manuscript is one of ten items on display 9 November 2009 to 8 January 2010.

http://www.nls.uk/news/press/2009/11/treasures-on-display-this-winter

 

National Library of Scotland media release, 23 October 2007

Crime Scene Edinburgh: 20 Years of Rankin and Rebus

A Sherlock Holmes manuscript is part of an exhibit from 24 October 2007 to 13 January 2008.

http://www.nls.uk/news/press/2007-10-22-rebus.html

http://www.nls.uk/news/archive/2007/10/rankin-and-rebus-20-years-on

 

The Evening News (Edinburgh), 22 October 2007

Murder in the library at Rebus exhibition by Brian Ferguson

Another mention of the manuscript to appear in the exhibit.

http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1684822007

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1684822007

http://www.scotsman.com/news/murder-in-the-library-at-rebus-exhibition-1-1345440

 

Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, March 2007 page # 1

[Further to the report on the manuscript...] by Peter E. Blau

http://www.redcircledc.org/index.php?id=39

 

Discover NLS, issue 3, winter 2006, pp. 14-17.

Forensic evidence from the Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes by Owen Dudley Edwards

Details and commentary on "The Illustrious Client" manuscript, with photos.

http://www.nls.uk/about/discover-nls/issues/discover-nls_03.pdf  (PDF: 17 pages; 1.4 MB)

http://www.nls.uk/media/22293/discover-nls_03.pdf   (PDF: 17 pages; 1.4 MB)

 

AMARC newsletter, Issue No. 47: October 2006, pp. 2-3.

"The adventure of the illustrious client" by Murray Simpson

The Head of Manuscripts at the National Library of Scotland writes about getting the manuscript.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/peter.kidd20/amarc/Newsletter47.pdf  (PDF: 188K)

http://www.amarc.org.uk/Newsletter47.pdf  (PDF: 188K)

 

Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, July 2006 page # 3

[The manuscript of "The Illustrious Client" was owned...] by Peter E. Blau

http://www.redcircledc.org/index.php?id=39

 

The District Messenger, no. 263, 22 July 2006, p. 1

[Big things have happened within the past few weeks...] by Roger Johnson

http://www.sherlock-holmes.org.uk/pdf/DM264.pdf

 

National Library of Scotland media release, 29 June 2006

Sherlock Holmes manuscript comes to the National Library

http://www.nls.uk/news/press/2006_06_30.html

http://www.nls.uk/news/press/2006/06/sherlock-holmes-manuscript-comes-to-the-national-library

 

National Library of Scotland website news page, 29 June 2006

Sherlock Holmes' manuscript donated by Conan Doyle estate

http://www.nls.uk/news/index.html

http://www.nls.uk/news/archive/2006/06/sherlock-holmes-manuscript-donated-by-conan-doyle-estate

 

BBC News, 29 June 2006

Library to get rare Holmes story

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/scotland/5131336.stm

 

 

NEWS CLIPS

 

Radio Telefís Éireann RTE Guide, 3 July 2006

Rare Sherlock Holmes story donated to library

http://www.rte.ie/arts/2006/0703/conandoylea.html

 

Daily Record, 1 July 2006

Sherlock Home

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/news/tm_objectid=17317338%26method=full%26siteid=66633-name_page.html

 


 

Other NLS Conan Doyle material

 

The National Library of Scotland also holds the original Conan Doyle manuscript for "The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe."  Conan Doyle wrote the story in the late 1870s and sent it to Blackwood's Magazine in Edinburgh.  Blackwood's never published the story and kept the 24-page handwritten manuscript in its files.  These files went to the National Library of Scotland in 1942, but it was not until December 2000 that the story was published. 

 

The story finally appeared in a special edition of 500 copies from Ash-Tree Press.  The book is now out of print, but it was a 72-page hardcover with ISBN: 155310014X.  It includes a reproduction of the first page of the manuscript.

 

 

National Library of Scotland media release, 24 November 2015

Treat for Sherlock Holmes fans at National Library

Holmes manuscript and another Conan Doyle manuscript displayed 27 November 2015.

http://www.nls.uk/news/press/2015/11/conan-doyle

 

Quarto, Newsletter of the National Library of Scotland, Summer 2001, Number 10

The Mystery of MS.4791

http://www.nls.uk/news/quarto/issues/quarto10.pdf   [note: PDF file]

http://www.nls.uk/media/22757/quarto10.pdf   [note: PDF file]

 

BBC News, 30 March 2001

Book that 'inspired' Sherlock published

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/1251085.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1251085.stm

 

Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, November 2000 page #2

[Arthur Conan Doyle wrote...] by Peter E. Blau

http://www.redcircledc.org/index.php?id=39

 

Publisher's Website (Ash-Tree Press)

http://www.ash-tree.bc.ca/acdspubs.htm

 

 


 

My thanks to Dr. Murray Simpson and Derek Oliver from the National Library of Scotland for their assistance with my research on "The Illustrious Client" manuscript.

 

 

 

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Vers. 2.0bx-RN Original work
Copyright ©2015  Randall Stock. All Rights Reserved.