“… a very long and complex story was written in the snow in front of me.”
By interpreting that mysterious story, Sherlock Holmes solved the delicate mystery of the Beryl Coronet, thus saving England from a great public scandal. In Karolin Hagendorf’s delightful illustration, we see Holmes in a more mellow mood: it seems that he and Watson are enjoying the magical change that the snow brings to the city that the good Doctor once called “that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained” — grimy, smoke-blackened, and ever-fascinating London, temporarily transformed into a land of joy.
They are walking across Westminster Bridge, away from the Houses of Parliament. Perhaps the Prime Minister has expressed the nation’s thanks to them for averting another scandal. Maybe they are heading for an evening’s entertainment at the Royal Victoria Music Hall.
I always have Sherlock Holmes on my mind. So when I started making linocuts naturally I used Sherlock Holmes motifs to practice the technique. Soon the detective became the signature theme in my work, which he is to this day. I wanted to express some of the winter-cosiness I always feel when reading the stories.
Here Holmes and Watson take a little winter-walk. Maybe they went to the theatre and are returning home, looking forward to some delicious food Mrs. Hudson left for them, or maybe one of Holmes’ chemical experiments went wrong and they needed some fresh air, or maybe they just solved a mystery and chased a villain through the snow-covered streets. Who knows with these two? But what we know for sure is that they are happy to be in each other’s company.
And in the end this is what Christmas is all about: being with the people you hold dearest in life.