SIDNEY PAGET: A TRIFLING MONOGRAPH
Sidney Edward Paget was born 4 October 1860, the fifth child of nine, to Martha (née Clarke), Professor of Music, and Robert Paget, vestry clerk of St. James and St. John in Clerkenwell. Until his marriage, Paget lived with his family at 19 Lloyd Square in Clerkenwell. He received his early education at the London Middle Class School on Cowper. Afterwards he attended the Heatherley School of Fine Art. In 1881 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, where he was preceded by his older brother, Henry Marriott (b. 1857) and his younger brother, Walter Stanley (b. 1863).
At the Academy Schools he met and befriended student of architecture, Alfred Morris Butler, who (allegedly) became the model for the illustrations of Sherlock Holmes’ stalwart companion, Dr. John Watson. Between 1879 and 1905, Paget contributed to the Royal Academy exhibitions eighteen miscellaneous paintings, of which nine were portraits.
His work as a black and white artist became well known throughout the U.K. and U.S., his drawings appearing in the Strand Magazine, the Pictorial World, The Sphere, The Graphic, the Illustrated London News, and the Pall Mall Magazine. His illustrations for Arthur Morrison’s Martin Hewitt detective stories, and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, greatly assisted in popularizing those stories.
It is a commonly held belief that Paget based Holmes' appearance on that of his brother, Walter. However, according to the 1912 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
"THE ASSERTION THAT THE ARTIST'S BROTHER WALTER, OR ANY OTHER PERSON, SERVED AS MODEL FOR THE PORTRAIT OF SHERLOCK HOLMES IS INCORRECT."
Henry Marriott (H.M.) Paget, brother and close friend of Sidney Paget, is cited as the source of private information.
On 1 June 1893, Sidney Paget married Edith Hounsfield (born 1865), daughter of William Hounsfield, a farmer. They had six children:
Leslie Robert - Son - 1894
Winifred - Daughter - 1896
Edith Muriel - Daugher - 1897
Evelyn Mereoah - Daugher - 1899
Beryl May - Daughter - Born 1902
John L. Paget - Son - Born ?
During the last few years of his life he suffered from a painful chest complaint, to which he succumbed at 16 Surrey Road, Margate, on 28 January 1908. He was buried at Marylebone cemetery, Finchley.