Born 1865 Died 26. April 1936
Arthur Twidle, who died on this day in 1936, was
Conan Doyle’s first choice to hold the post of
Sherlock Holmes illustrator of The Strand
following the early death of Sidney Paget. Twidle
had illustrated several stories in the author’s
edition of Holmes’ Tales in 1903, and Sir Arthur was pleased with these as well as Twidle’s work on several of his other stories. When he submitted the manuscript for The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge in April 1908, he therefore asked editor Herbert Greenhough Smith to give Twidle a special assignment.
However, after drawing two stories, Twidle
suddenly stopped. This confused Conan Doyle, who complained in a letter to Greenhough Smith about the “washing” and “characterless” illustrations another artist (Gilbert Holiday) had produced for “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot.” “Why don’t you hire the man I like, Twidle,” he asked, “the best man I know for this job, or is there a reason I don’t know.” Not a single time did I experience him make a mistake. “
The problem, Sir Arthur learned, was not with the drawing of Holmes, but with Twidles’ trouble with beach art editor William Henry James Boot. The author tried to flatten the scales by offering to judge Twiddle’s art for himself and bypass it, but in the end his efforts were recognized but rejected, and Twiddle never illustrated a Sherlock Holmes tale again.