Statue in Kensington Gardens
Statue in Kensington Gardens

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.[1] 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".[2]

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.[3] 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."[4]

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.[5] In 1928, vandals tarred and feathered the sculpture.[6] It became a Grade II* listed building in 1970. Royal Parks replaced the plinth in 2019, which caused some controversy.[7][8]

Other casts

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,[9] and one was sold in Scotland in 2016 for £60,000.[10][11]

Frampton made six other full-size casts from the original moulds, which stand in the following places:

George Frampton Memorial

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.[17]

Other sculptures

Other sculptors have created statues of Peter Pan, including:

See also


References

Audio description of the statue by Susan Greenfield
  1. ^ "The Peter Pan Statue". royalparks.org.uk.
  2. ^ Birkin, Andrew: J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys, Constable, 1979; revised edition, Yale University Press, 2003
  3. ^ Mackail, Denis (1941). Barrie: The Story of J. M. B. Peter Davies p439
  4. ^ Chaney, Lisa (2006). Hide-and-Seek with Angels: A Life of J. M. Barrie. Arrow.
  5. ^ Birkin, Andrew: J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys, Constable, 1979; revised edition, Yale University Press, 2003
  6. ^ "The Outrages on London Statues". Our London Correspondence. The Manchester Guardian. No. 25, 580. Manchester. 23 August 1928. p. 8. icon of an open green padlock
  7. ^ Alberge, Dalya (13 April 2019). "Peter Pan author would be 'appalled' by pompous new statue plinth, his family say". The Telegraph.
  8. ^ "The Peter Pan Statue". royalparks.org.uk.
  9. ^ "Bonhams Auction: A RARE AND EARLY BRONZE FIGURE OF PETER PAN LOT 299". Bonhams. 4 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Peter Pan sculpture to be auctioned". BBC News. 3 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Peter Pan statue fetches £60,000 at Edinburgh auction". BBC News. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  12. ^ "City of Brussels Peter-Pan-statue-regains-panflute". Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014.
  13. ^ "STATUE OF PETER PAN, non Civil Parish - 1062529 | Historic England". historicengland.org.uk.
  14. ^ "Peter Pan | Monument Australia". monumentaustralia.org.au.
  15. ^ PLUMMER, KEVIN (21 June 2008). "Historicist | Toronto's Peter Pan Statue, City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 716". torontoist.com.
  16. ^ "Johnson Park Restoration - Peter Pan". rutgers.edu.
  17. ^ City of London – 2: St. Paul's Cathedral, Church Monuments Society, retrieved 16 May 2017

Media related to Peter Pan monuments by George Frampton at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 51°30′31″N 0°10′33″W / 51.5086°N 0.1759°W / 51.5086; -0.1759