J.M. Barrie

Category: Literature
Status: Available
Ref: 10229
Price: £350.00
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J.M. Barrie
J.M. Barrie

Scotttish novelist and playwright, best remembered for his creation of the immortal  Peter Pan in 1901.

When Barrie was 6 years old, his next-older brother David (his mother's favourite) died two days before his 14th birthday in an ice-skating accident. This left his mother devastated, and Barrie tried to fill David's place in his mother's attentions, even wearing David's clothes and whistling in the manner that he had. One time Barrie entered her room, and heard her say 'Is that you?' 'I thought it was the dead boy she was speaking to,' wrote Barrie in his biographical account of his mother, Margaret Ogilvy (1896), 'and I said in a little lonely voice, "No, it's no' him, it's just me."' Barrie's mother found comfort in the fact that her dead son would remain a boy forever, never to grow up and leave her.

Barrie’s early writing career was marred by duds but in 1901 and 1902 he had two back-to-back stage successes with Quality Street and The Admirable Crichton.

The first appearance of Peter Pan came in The Little White Bird, which was serialised in the United States, then published in a single volume in the UK in 1901. Barrie's most famous and enduring work, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, had its first stage performance on 27 December 1904. This play introduced audiences to the name Wendy, which was inspired by a young girl, Margaret Henley, who called Barrie 'Friendy', but could not pronounce her Rs very well and so it came out as 'Fwendy'. It has been performed innumerable times since then, was developed by Barrie into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy, and has been adapted by others into feature films, musicals, and more.

This is a fine 2-page letter, handwritten and signed in ink on a 7" x 5.25" sheet of headed notepaper (Adelphi Terrace House, Strand W.C., 22 March, no year).
To a Mr Bradshaw, who ran an art college in Forest Hill in London, he writes (in full):

Dear Mr Bradshaw

How delightful of you. And thanks heartily for the Shepperson portfolio, which I like much.
As for the photographs, the girl is so mirroring of Wendy that if you had dared to call her anything else there would have been a sharp message from the house under the ground.

Yours sincerely

One horizontal and one vertical correspondence fold.  A small split at the right end of the horizontal fold.  Some toning and general dustiness but otherwise in good condition.

The letter is important in three respects.
"Shepperson" is Claude Shepperson (1867-1921), an artist and book illustrator who designed the women's constumes for the 1920 revival of his 1902 play, The Admirable Crichton.
"Wendy" is, of course, the famous Wendy Darling of Peter Pan.
Barrie's mention of "the house under the ground" at the end of the letter is an allusion to Chapter Seven of Peter and Wendy which is headed "The Home Under The Ground".