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Lot #562
Arthur Conan Doyle

Doyle offers O. P. Heggie advice on playing Sherlock Holmes

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Doyle offers O. P. Heggie advice on playing Sherlock Holmes

ALS, signed “A. Conan Doyle,” one page, 5 x 7, Hôtel Métropole letterhead, no date. Doyle writes to an unnamed actor. In full: “I am sure your performance will by admirable. You might just speed up two parts which drag the end of Scene II Act II after Watson’s exit, and the examination of the wall in the last scene.” A few subtle wrinkles, very faint foxing to upper portion, and a stray ink blot, otherwise fine condition. The writing is clear and bold throughout.

According to the consignor, the letter was written to actor O. P. Heggie, who appeared as Sherlock Holmes in a production of The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes during a production at London’s Strand Theatre during February 6–25, 1911. The Speckled Band, based on an earlier work entitled The Stonor Case, was one of Doyle's most successful dramatic productions. The tale involves elements such as an evil uncle, an Indian snake charmer, mysterious music, and of course, a murder.

Doyle’s exhortation to “speed up” relates to two specific moments in the play. The first occurs after Watson’s exit in Act II, Scene 2, at which point Holmes’s pageboy, Billy, enters, and a conversation ensues. The second takes place during the play’s last scene (Act III, Scene 2), during which Holmes examines a wall and delivers his longest monologue of the play. Doyle letters with direct references to the Holmes are extremely elusive. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RRAuction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #353 - Ended January 23, 2010

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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