George Llewelyn Davies
|George Llewelyn Davies|
Davies in his last year at Eton in 1912 at age 19
20 July 1893|
|Died||15 March 1915
|Known for||foster son of J. M. Barrie|
George Llewelyn Davies (20 July 1893 - 15 March 1915) was the eldest son of Arthur and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. Along with his four younger brothers, George was the inspiration for playwright J. M. Barrie's characters of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. The character of Mr. George Darling was named after him. He was killed in action in the First World War. He was the first cousin of the English writer Daphne du Maurier.
Davies and his brother Jack met Barrie during their regular outings to Kensington Gardens, with their nurse Mary Hodgson. As the oldest (he was four years old when he met Barrie) he featured most prominently in the early storytelling and play adventures from which the writer drew ideas for Barrie's works around that time about young boys. He and Jack (and to a lesser extent Peter) were featured in a photo storybook The Boy Castaways which Barrie made during a shared holiday at Barrie's Black Lake Cottage in 1901.
In the 1904 play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, Peter Pan is roughly 10 - the same age that Davies was when Barrie began writing the play in 1903. Barrie reported taking some of the characterization of Peter and individual Lost Boys from things Davies and his younger brothers said or did. For example, in response to Barrie's oral tales about babies who died and went to live in Neverland, the boy reportedly exclaimed, "To die will be an awfully big adventure"; this became one of Peter Pan's most memorable lines.
Barrie financially supported Davies and his brothers following the death of their father (1907), and became their primary guardian following the death of their mother (1910). Davies remained very close with "Uncle Jim" as he grew up and went away to school, with the two exchanging letters regularly. His youngest brother Nico later described him (and their brother Michael) as "The Ones": the boys who meant the most to Barrie.
Davies attended Eton College, where he excelled at sports (especially cricket) and was elected to the elite social club Pop while still an underclassman. He later attended Trinity College, Cambridge where he joined the Amateur Dramatic Club, following in the footsteps of both his uncle, actor Gerald du Maurier and his dramatist guardian.
Following the UK's entry into World War I, Davies and his brother Peter volunteered for service. He received a commission as a second lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, and served in the trenches in Flanders. He died of a gunshot wound to the head at the age of 21. As yet unmarried, the young George Llewelyn Davies left no children.
In the 1978 BBC mini-series The Lost Boys, he was portrayed at various ages by Barnaby Holm (son of actor Ian Holm, who portrayed Barrie), Paul Holmes, Philip Kassler, Mark Benson, and Christopher Blake.
- Andrew Birkin, J M Barrie and the Lost Boys
- Birkin, Andrew: J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys (Yale University Press, 2003)