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What's so hard about Holmes?

Ol Brokedik

Well-known member
#22
The problem seems to be there where no historical photos captured of him for reference. Not a single one. I think the real question is... how did he avoid having his picture taken? ;)
I don't think Sherlock Holmes was a real person. I believe he was a fictional character based on a real person. That is why there are no pictures of Sherlock Holmes.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
 
#24
Likely there are no well done Meer Calabashes because #1 Holmes is a fictional character so everything about the character is made up by the person writing about him or playing him on stage or film. #2 he didn't use a Meer in the original Conan Doyle written stories. The odd briar but mostly clay pipes. The Meer was an adaption utilized by a character actor (1899 Gillette?) playing Holmes on stage so he could pull off the roll with his hands free. I suppose it didn't help that the Boer War was in 11 October 1899 – 31 May 1902 and that the Meer Calabash was apparently designed by British soldiers returning from that conflict just about the time Doyles character was just starting out. Holmes first appeared in Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual of 1887. The movies didn't start until 1915 unless I'm mistaken. I bet the Holmes Meer Calabash craze can be equated to the Bond film Skyfall in 2012; all of a sudden everyone had to have a straight razor - the prop was made famous by the actor playing the character and not the other way around.
 

blackmouth210

Well-known member
#25
Likely there are no well done Meer Calabashes because #1 Holmes is a fictional character so everything about the character is made up by the person writing about him or playing him on stage or film. #2 he didn't use a Meer in the original Conan Doyle written stories. The odd briar but mostly clay pipes. The Meer was an adaption utilized by a character actor (1899 Gillette?) playing Holmes on stage so he could pull off the roll with his hands free. I suppose it didn't help that the Boer War was in 11 October 1899 – 31 May 1902 and that the Meer Calabash was apparently designed by British soldiers returning from that conflict just about the time Doyles character was just starting out. Holmes first appeared in Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual of 1887. The movies didn't start until 1915 unless I'm mistaken. I bet the Holmes Meer Calabash craze can be equated to the Bond film Skyfall in 2012; all of a sudden everyone had to have a straight razor - the prop was made famous by the actor playing the character and not the other way around.
That he is a fictional character and the other details of your post are no reason for awful work being done on Sherlock Holmes meers.

If someone made a Santa meer with obviously uneven eyes, a unicorn meer with badly misshapen nostrils, or a Superman pipe with deformed Billy Idol lips, respectable pipe retailers would never post these pipes for sale on their site.
But, with Sherlock Holmes, it seems acceptable to sell such crap work.

The fact that some pipe-smoking consumers pay good money to buy a terribly carved meer just because the carver put a deerstalker on it and called it Sherlock Holmes has always amazed me.
 
#26
That he is a fictional character and the other details of your post are no reason for awful work being done on Sherlock Holmes meers.

If someone made a Santa meer with obviously uneven eyes, a unicorn meer with badly misshapen nostrils, or a Superman pipe with deformed Billy Idol lips, respectable pipe retailers would never post these pipes for sale on their site.
But, with Sherlock Holmes, it seems acceptable to sell such crap work.

The fact that some pipe-smoking consumers pay good money to buy a terribly carved meer just because the carver put a deerstalker on it and called it Sherlock Holmes has always amazed me.
Unicorns do have terribly unattractive nostrils though. DAMHIK.
 
#28
That he is a fictional character and the other details of your post are no reason for awful work being done on Sherlock Holmes meers.

If someone made a Santa meer with obviously uneven eyes, a unicorn meer with badly misshapen nostrils, or a Superman pipe with deformed Billy Idol lips, respectable pipe retailers would never post these pipes for sale on their site.
But, with Sherlock Holmes, it seems acceptable to sell such crap work.

The fact that some pipe-smoking consumers pay good money to buy a terribly carved meer just because the carver put a deerstalker on it and called it Sherlock Holmes has always amazed me.
Fair enough on all the history data. I understood the question to be "Why do you think carvers just can't get a good Sherlock Holmes out of meerschaum?" Perhaps then I can alter my response in that it may be the market demand is there closely followed by 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' outlook held by those purchasers. That style of pipe allows artistic license in its creation and due to the volume of purchasers out there (few of whom are as discerning as you) retailers can produce inferior products easily and at a profit. If most sales are online and most people use their iPhone the image may not be as clear as a desk top computer would provide. Lastly if the majority of carvers are in Turkey a British fictional novel character may not be terribly popular and therefore there may not be anyone with the passion to get a carved Meer semblance of Holmes correct.
 

blackmouth210

Well-known member
#29
Fair enough on all the history data. I understood the question to be "Why do you think carvers just can't get a good Sherlock Holmes out of meerschaum?"
That was the question. But it was prefaced by:
"I've seen plenty of awesome carvings of dragons, horses, unicorns, claws, and all kinds of celebrities (both fictional and otherwise)."

To put it differently, some carvers show great talent when carving meerschaum pipes based on all sorts of people and animals.
Yet they have trouble getting Sherlock Holmes to look at least human.
Some of the photos already posted in this thread are great examples of this shoddy carving...even to those of us viewing the pictures on an IPhone.

By the way, Sherlock Holmes is VERY popular in Turkey.
 
Last edited:

Chico

Well-known member
#30
That was the question. But it was prefaced by:
"I've seen plenty of awesome carvings of dragons, horses, unicorns, claws, and all kinds of celebrities (both fictional and otherwise)."

To put it differently, some carvers show great talent when carving meerschaum pipes based on all sorts of people and animals.
Yet they have trouble getting Sherlock Holmes to look at least human.
Some of the photos already posted in this thread are great examples of this shoddy carving...even to those of us viewing the pictures on an IPhone.

By the way, Sherlock Holmes is VERY popular in Turkey.
So are there carvers who excel in human figurative carving except when it comes to Sherlock? Because that would be weird, and might indicate an ancient Egyptian curse.

"a Superman pipe with deformed Billy Idol lips" - not that I'd like to see! (but no necessarily own).
 

blackmouth210

Well-known member
#31
So are there carvers who excel in human figurative carving except when it comes to Sherlock? Because that would be weird, and might indicate an ancient Egyptian curse.

"a Superman pipe with deformed Billy Idol lips" - not that I'd like to see! (but no necessarily own).
:hahaha-024:

An Egyptian curse on Turkish meer pipes of an English fictional character. That would make a great Indiana Jones movie! :thumbsup:
 

Frotz

cause something to give off light
Patron
#34
That Sherlock is fictional doesn't rule out the idea of what he is supposed to look like. Doyle was quite detailed in his descriptions of Holmes, Watson, Mycroft, and Lastrade in descending order. Sidney Paget's drawings further cement the canonical look. Then there's the fact that Doyle himself endorsed Rathbone's stage portrayal of Sherlock.
 
#35
That Sherlock is fictional doesn't rule out the idea of what he is supposed to look like. Doyle was quite detailed in his descriptions of Holmes, Watson, Mycroft, and Lastrade in descending order. Sidney Paget's drawings further cement the canonical look. Then there's the fact that Doyle himself endorsed Rathbone's stage portrayal of Sherlock.
When did Rathbone play Holmes on stage? I can only find mentions of film. He first played Holmes on screen in 1939, nine years after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s death.
 

blackmouth210

Well-known member
#36
When did Rathbone play Holmes on stage? I can only find mentions of film. He first played Holmes on screen in 1939, nine years after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s death.
I assumed the actor he was referring to was William Gillette. He played Holmes on stage and in a 1916 silent film. He is credited with introducing the Calabash to Sherlock's character.
I could see Doyle endorsing his work for sure.

Even if Rathbone played Holmes on stage I don't know if Doyle would have had much time to endorse his work. Like you, everything I've read brings Basil to the Holmes character after Doyle's death.
 
#37
I assumed the actor he was referring to was William Gillette. He played Holmes on stage and in a 1916 short film. He is credited with introducing the Calanash to Sherlock's character.
I could see Doyle endorsing his work for sure.

Even if Rathbone played Holmes on stage I don't know if Doyle would have had much time to endorse his work. Like you, everything I've read brings Basil to the Holmes character after Doyle's death.
I am pretty sure it was Gillette he was thinking of.
 

Frotz

cause something to give off light
Patron
#38
I assumed the actor he was referring to was William Gillette. He played Holmes on stage and in a 1916 silent film. He is credited with introducing the Calabash to Sherlock's character.
I could see Doyle endorsing his work for sure.

Even if Rathbone played Holmes on stage I don't know if Doyle would have had much time to endorse his work. Like you, everything I've read brings Basil to the Holmes character after Doyle's death.
Whoops! Yes, I meant Gillette. There's a story of Gillette greeting Doyle on a train platform in costume and character as Holmes, which greatly impressed Doyle.