The Museum of London on Friday opened its largest Sherlock Holmes exhibition in over 60 years, displaying a variety of rare artifacts assembled globally about the fictional British icon.
The exhibition, named "The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die," showcases a wide array of manuscripts, illustrations, photographs, portraits, garments, detective tools, film clips, as well as gadgets frequently seen in screen adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
The first major temporary exhibition on Sherlock Holmes in London since 1951, the show combines the Museum of London's own extensive collections along with many world class loans from museums, galleries and private collections overseas.
"Sherlock Holmes is a global icon indelibly linked with London, so it is fitting that we are able to host this major celebration of Conan Doyle's creation at the Museum of London," said Alex Werner, head of history collections and lead curator at the Museum of London.
He stressed that it would be a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to see such a diverse collection of Sherlock Holmes artifacts and material under one roof.
A notebook, used by the Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle between 1885 and 1889, shed light on the literary origins of the very first Holmes story.
In the notebook, Conan Doyle jotted down an initial dramatic storyline of "The terrified woman rushing up to the cabman." The original title "A Tangled Skein" was crossed out and replaced with "A Study in Scarlet" -- the name of the first Holmes novel.
Other highlights include the only existing filmed interview of Conan Doyle, his earliest surviving manuscript page, old magazines which published the earliest Holmes stories, and creative illustrations in the 1880s that helped define the deerstalker-wearing image of the consulting detective in popular culture.
London, the setting for many Sherlock Holmes adventures, was treated like another major character in the exhibition, which devoted a whole section to the British capital, with images showing its fogs, populous streets, transport networks and celebrated landmarks in the Victorian era.
The show opened at a time when the popularity of Sherlock Holmes is at its peak, in part thanks to recent Hollywood films and TV adaptations, which in return helped enrich the exhibits.
The iconic Belstaff coat, the Derek Rose dressing gown worn by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and the "Wall of Rats" props used in the BBC Sherlock series are among the most recognizable items that appeal to younger fans.
The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday to April 12 next year.