Peter Pan mini statue to auction at £50k

A powerful English icon of childhood, a sculpture of Peter Pan, will feature in Bonhams sale of Fine English Furniture and Works of Art on November 18.

The bronze figure of Peter Pan by Sir George James Frampton, (1860-1928), shows Peter standing with his arms outstretched, playing a pipe. The sculpture dated 1920 is 48cm high (18.5 inches) and is estimated to sell for £30,000-50,000.

It is one of the limited number of reductions made between 1913-1925 of the life size bronze of Peter Pan, exhibited by Frampton at the Royal Academy in 1911.

The statue was erected on the spot in Kensington Gardens where Peter Pan appears nightly in J. M Barrie's first book featuring Peter, Little White Bird (1901).

Barrie was responsible for the commission, the figure of Peter was supposed to be modelled on Michael Llewellyn-Davies, one of the five brothers who inspired the story.

Barrie sent Frampton pictures of Michael dressed as Peter Pan from which to work, but Frampton is not thought to have modelled Peter Pan on Llewellyn Davies as intended but instead used another boy, possibly James W. Shaw or William A. Harwood.

1920 Peter Pan statue
Peter Pan 18.5 inch bronze figure (£50k)

The statue was erected overnight on 1 May 1912 in secrecy with no advance publicity.

Barrie placed an advert in UK newspaper The Times stating: "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."

The public statue has the figure standing upon a rocky base with fairies, rabbits, mice and squirrels covering the base. The statue was much admired and quickly become a favourite landmark for many adults and children, and is often considered to be the most popular statue in London.

Other life-size versions of the statue were later erected in Sefton Park, Liverpool, Canada, Brussels, Australia and New Jersey.

It was the obvious widespread popular appeal of the statue that led Frampton to produce the reductions of the main figure, like the one at appearing at Bonhams.

The sale will take place at Bonhams at New Bond Street, London.

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