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 “a course of lectures ” [COPP]

In late June and early July, the Portsmouth Library and Archives will be hosting a series of four online talks related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, following what began as the Professor Neil McCaw Lecture Series.

The Library and Archives are the home to The Conan Doyle Collection Lancelyn Green Bequest, an unrivaled collection of books, photographs, objects, documents, and memorabilia chronicling the life of Conan Doyle and beyond, coming from the estate of Richard Lancelyn Green.

We chatted with Steve Rothman, BSI ("The Valley of Fear") and the late Nicholas Utechin, BSI ("The British Barrow") about the life of Richard Lancelyn Green on Episode 124:

Worldwide Doyle 2023 

If you can't travel to Portsmouth to see the Collection, this series of online talks is the next best thing. Registration is open for live stream video access via Zoom. The program is as follows (all times are BST):

Ross Davies and Mark Jones – 26 June @ 7pm

Arthur Conan Doyle and the Adventure of the Gaiola Malediction

In April/May, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle vacations on his relatives' tiny paradise of an island estate (Gaiola) off the port of Naples, Italy, where he meets an Italian inventor, who claims to have automated the process of duplicating of sculptures. Conan Doyle buys the English rights to the patented machinery, partners with a colourful sculptor-contractor named W.G. Jones who turns out to be both dishonest and difficult to deal with (not quite a grifter, but pretty close!). 

The whole thing turns into a business nightmare, but not before the plan and Conan Doyle's business (both ultimately unsuccessful) get widespread attention in the news media on both sides of the Atlantic. By June 1905, the madcap adventure is over.

There are many nifty visuals, and many interesting words in both the news coverage and the private correspondence (including some pretty clearly direct connections to a couple of the Sherlock Holmes stories). And nowadays, there is a legend that the beautiful little island is cursed (though for reasons other than Conan Doyle's failed sculpture company) — if only Conan Doyle had known about the curse!

Register for this talk.

Michael Gunton – 28 June @ 7pm

Portsmouth's Conan Doyle Collection

Portsmouth's Conan Doyle Collection is perhaps the most wide-ranging of its type in the world — including everything from letters written by Conan Doyle to Snoopy outfits and board games. Michael Gunton will give an overview of the contents of the collection, and talk about some of the ways it is being used and enjoyed by users around the world.

Register for this talk.

Bryan Woods – 3 July 2023 @ 7pm

Arthur Conan Doyle's Supernatural Stories

Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was also a prolific writer in other genres - including the supernatural. Bryan Woods’ talk will feature ghosts, Egyptian mummies, and other creatures of the night, as imagined by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Join him if you dare!

Register for this talk.

Dr. Christopher Pittard – 4th July 2023 @ 7pm

Sidney Paget's Visions of Sherlock Holmes

This talk focuses on the illustrator Sidney Paget's role in creating Sherlock Holmes when Doyle moved to the Strand Magazine in 1891, meaning that from the start of his popularity, Holmes has always been a multimedia figure. 

The talk considers Paget's influences, some of the origins of his Holmes illustrations (drawing on material from the Lancelyn Green Bequest), and the way in which his visual style interacts with Doyle's writing to shape the stories. 

Register for this talk.

This should be an exciting and engaging set of talks. We hope you have a chance to register and view one or more of them.