The statue of Peter Pan is a 1912 bronze sculpture of J. M. Barrie's character Peter Pan. It was commissioned by Barrie and made by Sir George Frampton. The original statue is displayed in Kensington Gardens in London, to the west of The Long Water, close to Barrie's former home on Bayswater Road. Barrie's stories were inspired in part by the gardens: the statue is at the place where Peter Pan lands in Barrie's 1902 book The Little White Bird after flying out of his nursery. Six other casts made by Frampton have been erected in other places around the world.
Statue in Kensington Gardens
The sculpture stands about 14 feet (4.3 m) high. It has a tall conical form, like a tree stump, topped by a young boy, about life size for an eight-year-old, blowing a thin musical instrument like a trumpet or flute, sometimes interpreted as pan pipes. The sides of the stump are decorated with small figures of squirrels, rabbits, mice, and fairies. Barrie had intended the boy to be based on a photograph of Michael Llewelyn Davies wearing a Peter Pan costume, but Frampton chose another model, perhaps George Goss or William A. Harwood. Barrie was disappointed by the results, claiming the statue "didn't show the Devil in Peter".
Detail of the sculpture
Barrie had the original bronze erected in Kensington Gardens on 30 April 1912, without fanfare and without permission, so that it might appear to children that the fairies had put it in place overnight. He published a notice in The Times newspaper the following day, 1 May: "There is a surprise in store for the children who go to Kensington Gardens to feed the ducks in the Serpentine this morning. Down by the little bay on the south-western side of the tail of the Serpentine they will find a May-day gift by Mr J.M. Barrie, a figure of Peter Pan blowing his pipe on the stump of a tree, with fairies and mice and squirrels all around. It is the work of Sir George Frampton, and the bronze figure of the boy who would never grow up is delightfully conceived."
He gave the sculpture to the city of London. Some critics objected to his advertising his works by erecting a sculpture in a public park without permission. In 1928, vandals tarred and feathered the sculpture. It became a Grade II* listed building in 1970. Royal Parks replaced the plinth in 2019, which caused some controversy.
Frampton made a series of small bronze reproductions of the Peter Pan figure from 1913 to his death in 1928. Some were sold at Bonham's in March and November 2015, and one was sold in Scotland in 2016 for £60,000.
Frampton made six other full-size casts from the original moulds, which stand in the following places:
Egmont Park [fr], in Brussels, given to the Belgian state by Frampton in 1924 to recognise the Anglo-Belgian friendship during the First World War; it suffered bullet damage in the Second World War, and was listed as a Belgian historical monument in 1975.
The memorial to George Frampton in the Crypt of St Paul's Cathedral, sculpted by Edward Gillick in 1930, depicts a young child holding in his hand a miniature replica of Frampton's statue of Peter Pan.
Other sculptors have created statues of Peter Pan, including:
a statue by Paul Montfort in 1925 in Melbourne, Australia;