The Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

The Old Horse

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In 1929, Arthur Conan Doyle had a heart attack. He survived it but his health was weak. In 1930, he was willing to look back on his life and drew this cartoon to resume it.

He depicted himself as a "The Old Horse" cared by 3 doctors ("vets"): Webb-Johnson, Parkinson and Mackintosh. At the time of the drawing he felt he could recover well and continue his activities. Unfortunately, he died on 7th july 1930 due to a final heart attack.

The path of the Old Horse is a chronology, and the carriage contains the major achievements which Conan Doyle felt the most important.

Below is described each steps of the drawing:

The-old-horse-commented.jpg


  • 1 : Edinburgh 1859 : His birth in Edinburgh on 22 may 1859. More
  • 2 : Stonyhurst 1869-1876 : His school years at the Jesuit college of Stonyhurst, Lancashire. More
  • 3 : University 1876-1881 : His university years at the Edinburgh University of Medicine. More
  • 4 : Whaling 1880 : His trip to arctic on the "Hope" whaler as surgeon. More
  • 5 : West Coast 1882 : His trip to Africa on the "Mayumba" boat as surgeon. More
  • 6 : 1882-1890 Medical Practice : His medical practice before being a full-time writer. More
  • 7 : Davos 1894 : His sejourn in Switzerland to assist his wife suffering of Tuberculosis. More
  • 8 : USA 1894 : His lectures in New York and Philadelphia about his literary works. More
  • 9 : Dongola 1896 : His trip to Egypt between november 1895 and 1896. More
  • 10 : Boer War 1900 : His participation to the Boer War as a volunteer doctor. More
  • 11 : Elections 1901 : His Unionist candidature to the legislative elections in Edinburgh (4 october 1900). More
  • 12 : 1914-1918 British Front, French Front, Italian Front : His visit to the three fronts during the WWI which he published a report in the book: A Visit to Three Fronts. More
  • 13 : 1914-1918 Volunteers : His raising troops to protect the country. More
  • 14 : Australia 1921 : His trip to Australia for several lectures about spiritualism. More
  • 15 : 1929 S. Africa : His lectures in Johannesburg, South Africa, but also Kenya.
  • 16 : 1929 Norway : His lectures in Norway, but also Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden.
  • 17 : 1930 : The year of this drawing, showing himself convalescent in a bed.
  • 18 : Boxing : The top of the carriage show his sporting activities. Boxing and football (ball drawn).
  • 19 : M.C.C., Golf, Cue, Ski : M.C.C. = Marylebone Cricket Club, Golf, Billiard and Ski.
  • 20 : Arctic : His trip to Arctic on the "Hope" whaler as surgeon. More
  • 21 : Sport : He was a sportsman as refers the top of the carriage (see 18 & 19).
  • 22 : Drama : He wrote several plays. More
  • 23 : West Coast Africa : His trip to Africa on the "Mayumba" boat as surgeon. More
  • 24 : USA 1894 : His trip to USA for a lecture about his literary works. More
  • 25 : Poems : He wrote several poems. More
  • 26 : Medical Practice 1882-1920 : His medical practice before being a full-time writer. More
  • 27 : Rodney Stone : His novel about boxing. More
  • 28 : History of Great War : His many reports of the WWI. More
  • 29 : History of Boer War : His book about the south African war. More
  • 30 : History of Spiritualism : His 2 books about the history of spiritualism published in 1926-1927. More
  • 31 : Tales : His many short stories collected in Tales of the Ring and Camp, Tales of Pirates and Blue Water, Tales of Terror and Mystery, Tales of Twilight and the Unseen, Tales of Adventure and Medical Life, Tales of Long Ago...
  • 32 : Historical Novels : His novels including The White Company, Sir Nigel, The Great Shadow, Micah Clarke...
  • 33 : Elections : His Unionist candidature to the legislative elections in Edinburgh (4 october 1900). More
  • 34 : Hawick 1905 : His lecture at Hawick Theatre about The Life and Times of Gibbon (1904 is the correct year).
  • 35 : Edinburgh 1901
  • 36 : Psychic Research
  • 37 : 500 Lectures
  • 38 : USA 1923
  • 39 : USA 1924
  • 40 : Dongola : His trip to Egypt between november 1895 and 1896. More
  • 41 : USA 1914 : His trip to USA for a lecture about his literary works. More
  • 42 : Sherlock Holmes : His main creation was just one among other from his point of view. More
  • 43 : Langman Hospital 1900 : He was doctor in Langman Field Hospital at Bloemfontein in South Africa during the Boer War. More
  • 44 : Boer War : He was doctor and war correspondent in South Africa during the Boer War. More
  • 45 : Australia 1921 : His trip to Australia to give lectures about spiritualism. More
  • 46 : Business R. Tuck & Sons : He has been for twenty-one years a director of Raphael Tuck & Co. More
  • 47 : Great War : His many reports of the WWI. More
  • 48 : Papers : He wrote many letters and articles published in the press. More
  • 49 : S. Africa 1921 : His lectures in Johannesburg, South Africa, but also Kenya.
  • 50 : Oscar Slater : His involvement to innocent Oscar Slater during his trial. More
  • 51 : Edalji : His involvement to innocent George Edalji during his trial. More
  • 52 : Congo : His pamphlet to condemn the Belgian abuses in Congo. More
  • 53 : Sweden 1929 : His lectures in several European countries like Sweden, Holland, Denmark and Norway.
  • 54 : Vets : The 3 characters are the doctors Webb-Johnson, Parkinson and Mackintosh.


Conan Doyle printed his drawing and sent it signed, see example here.







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