The props of BBC Sherlock | Sherlockology Sherlockabilia Shop Now Open

Skull Painting

Skull Painting
Skull Painting
Skull Print
221 Limited Edition Signed Prints (Sold Out)

The iconic and dramatic artwork of a skull that adorns the main living room of 221B is a unique piece created by British artist John Pinkerton. Not for sale, it is loaned by John to the Sherlock production department for filming.

John was very kind to write us a piece on the fascinating history on the creation of the painting, how it is constructed, and just how it came to feature on the wall of 221B:

"I guess the original inspiration for it came whilst in the former Yugoslavia, I worked out there for an NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) during the Balkans war in 1994-1996, with an outfit called 'The Serious Road Trip' . I was a truck driver and we delivered emergency aid to the areas the UN had either deemed too dangerous or had just plain forgotten about.

"The truck I inherited when I first arrived had a' skull in a cowboy hat' sticker in the windscreen with blazing terrifying eyes and 'the south will rise again' over a confederate flag, (dreadful I know, the south should stay exactly where it is as far as I'm concerned). For the first few trips I made I was very aware of those eyes boring into me, just waiting for me to make a mistake, I didn't remove it for three months and by the time I did the skull image had, what with one thing and another, imprinted itself very firmly on my subconscious. For the remaining two years I was there,I could always feel those eyes on me whenever I climbed into the cab. It has been a fascination ever since, sinister connotations aside it is a darkly beautiful design that seems to strike a chord in all of us.

"I had a skull cast in resin and used that for some preliminary works but in the end based the final piece on the most popular Google image. Death, like Google, will get to us all eventually.

"The piece itself is actually two skulls, a black one painted onto a blue marbled background on cut plywood and a silver one (silver leaf) on cut perspex placed slightly above. Four bolts separate the two sections making it a bugger to clean!

"How long did it take?.......well to get to the finished product from original inspiration about fifteen years!

"How much would it cost?...... I'm afraid it's not for sale. There is a version using copper leaf over a dark graphite backing but I have no intention of producing any more.

"As for how it made it into Sherlock's front room......I am fortunate to have some of my work on display in one of the major prop-houses in London and a fair amount is featured in various films and TV productions . The Sherlock art department made some inquiries as to whether I had anything suitable for the show. I submitted five pieces, four were placed on the set, the skull not selected. It was waiting on a table to be packed away and returned to me when it caught the director's eye."

For more information on John and his stunning artwork visit his website and facebook page.  

Prints of Mr Blue Skull were issued in an edition size of 221 pieces, all now sold out.

While not an exact match to John's stunning piece, we've created our own approximation of the skull print as a free download. You'll have to print and mount it yourself to achieve the full onscreen effect though. At full size, it displays at 40cm x 51cm.

Series 4