Sherlock Holmes had, in a very remarkable degree, the power of detaching his mind at will. For two hours the strange business in which we had been involved appeared to be forgotten, and he was entirely absorbed in the pictures of the modern Belgian masters. He would talk of nothing but art, of which he had the crudest ideas, from our leaving the gallery until we found ourselves at the Northumberland Hotel. [HOUN]
Constantin Meunier, Belgian painter and sculptor, was born April 12, 1831 in Brussels. Could he be the Oscar Meunier mentioned in the Canon?
Meunier trained at the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, beginning in 1845. On the advice of Charles de Groux, he focused on painting before returning to sculpture later in his career. More information about his life can found in A Curious Collection of Dates by JWHS members Leah Guinn (“Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (“Tressa”).
More information about the wax bust credited to Oscar Meunier may be found at John A Lanzalotti’s site: Williamsburg Sculpture:
In the sixty reminiscences of Dr. Watson better known as the Sherlock Holmes stories, there are two references to a wax bust made in the likeness of Sherlock Holmes by a French sculptor. The first reference is in the Return of Sherlock Holmes. The credit of the execution is due to Monsieur Oscar Meunier, of Grenoble, who spent some days in doing the molding. It is a bust in wax. ” The second reference is in the Mazarin Stone. Sherlock Holmes tells his assassin that the wax effigy was made by Tavernier, the French modelier. These names however, are either pseudonyms or the individuals were so obscure that history passed them by with no other reference. It seems odd that Sherlock Holmes would have two life-sized busts made in his image by two different sculptors. Both busts were said to be the identical image of Holmes.