Sir J.M.Barrie commissioned Sir George Frampton R.A to create the statue of his most famous elfin hero in 1911; no one knew what they were up-to until they secretly had the 10’high bronze installed overnight in a wooded glade overlooking the Serpentine – without permission (it was of course the very spot that Peter first lands when he flies from the nursery in the story). The next morning, on May Day 1912, Sir J.M.Barrie posted an announcement in The Times that Kensington Gardens had had a surprise visitor. The statue is still there today and is a much-loved landmark (now Grade 1 Listed).
Both the Edwardian casts, and a later edition enabled by The Fine Arts Society from which this cast comes – each nearly a ton of bronze - were made at the Morris Singer foundry; the mould was destroyed – so only a dozen have ever been cast. These valuable sculptures are now found in prominent locations around the world: Canada, Australia, USA & Belgium. This cast is marked "8/8", the last of the series.
Sir George Frampton R.A. 1860-1928 was a leading sculptor of his day – his work includes The Queen Victoria monument in Calcutta, The Edith Cavell Memorial off Trafalgar Square and the pair of huge stone lions at The British Museum. Frampton is today memorialised with a bronze relief in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral – it is modelled as a young child holding a miniature of his treasured Peter Pan figure.
Barrie had first published a Peter Pan story with "The Little White Bird" in 1902. A stage play followed "Peter Pan, or The Boy who Wouldn't Grow Up" in 1904 - featuring Tinkerbell and Captain Hook for the first time. It was all brought together into a compendium children's edition in 1906 entitled "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens". It was about this time that Barrie, with a sculpture in mind, had asked Michael Llewellyn Davies to pose in costume for a series of photographs - Pans' costume having been established by William Nicholson for the stage production two years earlier. Frampton's subsequent sculpture first appeared as a plaster rendition at The Royal Academy in 1911 - but there ws no indication at that point that Peter was to land in bronze alongside the Serpentine on May Day 1912.