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Sherlockiana: Josef Friedrich


The first Czech illustrator of the Sherlock Holmes stories was born in 1875 in Prague, where he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1896. In Bohemia, he was known mainly from Humoristické listy, of which he was the core and until 1907 practically the only illustrator, but his work also appeared elsewhere, whether in the rival magazine Švanda Dudák or on the covers and pages of books by various publishers, such as Pavel Körber.

Fridrich also looked around the world. He worked in Munich and then spent eighteen years in Argentina. He lived in Buenos Aires and drew for various magazines, especially for Caras y Caretas by the journalist and writer José Ciriaco Alvarez, known under the pseudonym Fray Mocho. After his return, the illustrator exhibited his work in Poděbrady. He died in Pilsen three years later, in October 1929.

He was hired to illustrate Doyle's stories by the publishing house Jos. R. Vilímek, for whose pulp edition Z dobrodružství detektiva Sherlocka Holmesa (The Adventures of Detective Sherlock Holmes), published in 1906-1907 mostly with original illustrations, he created 72 drawings for twelve issues. These were also published collectively, in several volumes; Friedrich's illustrations can be found in Dobrodružství detektiva Sherlocka Holmesa (1906), Ztracená stopa (1906), and Mstitel (1907).

Fridrich worked in the usual method of that time: he redrew the original pictures (in this case by Sidney Paget) in his own style, but some of his illustrations are original in subject matter. Most are now available on the relevant page of The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia.


A list of stories with Friedrich illustrations:



The difference between the original illustration and Friedrich's conception of John Clay's arrest in The Red-Headed League [REDH]

Paget vs. Friedrich

left, Sidney Paget (1860 - 1908), left, illustration is from the first edition of The Red-headed League story in Strand Magazine, August 1891
right, Joseph Friedrich (1875 - 1929) illustration is from the Red-Headed League Jos.R. Vilímek edition, 1906



  1. For the stories [BOSC], [FIVE], [IDEN], [REDH], and [SCAN], Sidney Paget is sometimes erroneously listed as the illustrator [back]


17.2. 2024 (17.3.2011)





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