JM Barrie Auction

by Andrew Birkin

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JM Barrie Auction

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Nov 27, 2004 12:16 pm

Thanks to DeepInDepp for bringing this to our attention!

When Andrew Birkin responded to our thank you notes he said he was donating, "that which was never really his", all of his Barrie material, to the Great Ormond Street Hospital. The proceeds will be used to fund a playground at the hospital which will be named after his son, Anno, who was killed in a car accident. All of the Barrie material has been scanned and will eventually be available in its entirety on his website devoted to J.M. Barrie.

Article source:

Barrie's Peter Pan family album goes on sale
By Will Bennett, Art Sales Correspondent
(Filed: 27/11/2004)

The creation of Peter Pan, the little boy who never grew up and who has entranced children for a century, was the result of a chance meeting between the playwright J M Barrie and two young brothers while out walking in a London park.

Five-year-old George Llewelyn Davies was particularly taken by Barrie who was well-informed on important topics such as cricket, fairies, murder, pirates, hanging and desert islands. The boy decided that he was not a real grown-up and so could be trusted.

Michael Llewelyn aged six
The friendship that developed between Barrie and George and subsequently the latter's parents and four brothers gave birth to Peter Pan. However, the family's real-life story was more dramatic and tragic than anything the playwright wrote for the stage.

Now the world's greatest privately owned archive of letters, photographs, manuscripts, books and other material relating to Barrie and the boys is to be auctioned at Sotheby's in aid of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, to which the playwright gave the rights to his most famous work.

The archive was acquired from Nico, the youngest of the Llewelyn Davies brothers, in exchange for several cases of whisky in 1980 by Andrew Birkin, who was researching a biography and a trilogy of plays on Barrie.

"It was always Mr Birkin's intention that it should ultimately benefit Great Ormond Street," said Peter Selley, the Sotheby's specialist in charge of the sale in London on December 16.

The auction coincides with the centenary of the first performance of Peter Pan in December 1904 and with the recent release of the the film Finding Neverland, starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.

Although the sale is expected to raise more than £80,000 for the hospital, there is concern among experts that the auction will split up the archive and that much of it may go to America.

"I think it will be a great shame if much of it leaves England," said Lisa Chaney, whose biography of Barrie will be published next April. "It should have been given to a library or institution in his native Scotland."

The archive contains more than 400 photographs, many previously unpublished, and includes a large number taken by Barrie.

They show the Llewelyn Davies brothers, the inspiration for the "Lost Boys", in a long vanished age of Edwardian innocence.

One depicts Michael Llewelyn Davies, the primary inspiration for Peter Pan, dressed as the character, while another shows him playing with Barrie acting the part of the evil pirate Captain Hook. Barrie also photographed George with the boys' mother who the playwright adored.

The creation of the story of Peter Pan flying through the window of the Darling family's nursery, teaching the children to fly and leading them to the home of the Lost Boys in Neverland, was a two-way process with Barrie and the brothers exchanging ideas.

Yet the reality of the family's life was different. The boys' father Arthur, caricatured as Mr Darling in the play, died in 1907 and their mother was killed by cancer three years later. Barrie became the five orphans' guardian.

Michael drowned with a male friend in 1921 and there was speculation that they had made a suicide pact while another brother Peter, who suffered from depression, threw himself under a London Tube train almost 40 years later.

George was killed aged 21 during the First World War and his death and Michael's broke Barrie's heart.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Charlene » Sat Nov 27, 2004 5:03 pm

It's been a while since I read The Lost Boys - was the fact that Peter threw himself under a train in there? I don't remember that.

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Unread postby Sands » Sat Nov 27, 2004 6:40 pm

Yes, it was right at the beginning of the book, before it goes into the past to tell about Barrie's life.
'Well, it's a little difficult for me to tell right now because I'm kind of having a bad day'

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