Friday, January 13, 2012


During series one of Sherlock, we published a Sherlock Special blogpost to highlight the fact that we have a painting by JMW Turner (1775 - 1851) of the Reichenbach Falls in the collection at Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum. The Reichenbach Falls also happens to be the scene of the famous meeting between Sherlock and his archenemy Moriarty.

The scene was first published in a short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Final Problem published in 1893. This was intended to be the last of the Sherlock Holmes stories however, pressure from fans brought Sherlock back, firslty in the prequel The Hound of the Baskervilles and then returning Holmes for good in The Adventure of the Empty House published in 1903.

Sherlock fans cannot fail to have noticed that the upcoming episode is titled 'The Reichenbach Fall'. You can see a preview here. We can't wait to find out how Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat will deal with the Reichenbach Falls story line. But more then that, we are very excited to know that the aforementioned Turner painting is likely to feature in the episode. We're not yet sure for how long, where, when, or even if it will certainly feature but we'll be keeping our eyes peeled! We hope you will be too.

The Great Falls of the Reichenbach, 1804
Accesion No.: P.98
watercolour on paper, 102.2 ´ 68.9 cm
inscribed: J M W Turner R A 1804

Entry from the Watercolour Catalogue:

The Great Falls of the Reichenbach was first shown at Turner’s own gallery held on the first floor of what was 64 Harley Street. Turner had conceived the idea of his own gallery due to uncertainty over the future of the Royal Academy in late 1803, with rumours abounding that Turner would not be showing at the the R.A. in 1804. Sir George Beaumont (who saw the Turner exhibition) complained of 'the strong skies and parts not corresponding with them'.

The Great Falls is a superb watercolour, made soon after Turner’s first visit to Switzerland in 1802, and is based on a sketch (Wilton no.361) now in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. The view is taken from the valley of Hasli above Meiringen with Great Scheidegg beyond and shows Turner tackling a 'Sublime' subject with enormous confidence. Turner’s pride in the work is shown by the fact that it was again exhibited at the R.A. in 1815.