Sylvia Llewelyn Davies
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, photographed by J.M. Barrie in 1898
Sylvia Jocelyn du Maurier
25 November 1866
|Died||27 August 1910 (aged 43)|
(m. 1892; died 1907)
|Children||George Llewelyn Davies (1893���1915) |
Jack Llewelyn Davies (1894–1959)
Peter Llewelyn Davies (1897–1960)
Michael Llewelyn Davies (1900–1921)
Nicholas Llewelyn Davies (1903–1980)
|Parent(s)||George du Maurier (father) |
Emma Wightwick (mother)
|Relatives||Gerald du Maurier (brother) |
Guy du Maurier (brother)
Angela du Maurier (niece)
Daphne du Maurier (niece)
Mary Anne Clarke (great grandmother)
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (née du Maurier; 25 November 1866 – 27 August 1910) was the mother of the boys who were the inspiration for the stories of Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. She was the daughter of cartoonist and writer George du Maurier and his wife Emma Wightwick, the elder sister to actor Gerald du Maurier, the aunt of novelists Angela and Daphne du Maurier, and a great-granddaughter of Mary Anne Clarke, royal mistress of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany.
She met the young barrister Arthur Llewelyn Davies at a dinner party in 1889 and they became engaged shortly thereafter. She married him in 1892, and they had five children, all boys: George (1893–1915), Jack (1894–1959), Peter (1897–1960), Michael (1900–1921), and Nicholas (Nico) (1903–1980).
In 1898, Davies met Barrie at a dinner party, discovering he was already friends with her three sons from their regular visits to Kensington Gardens. She and Barrie became close (he called her by her middle name "Jocelyn"), with him spending considerable time at the Davies's home, and the family accompanying Barrie and his wife on holidays. She encouraged her boys' friendship with him.
Her husband died in 1907 of a sarcoma in his cheek. She welcomed Barrie's financial and emotional support, both for herself and for her boys. Following Barrie's divorce in 1909, he and Sylvia remained close, but did not marry. She became ill with an inoperable cancer in her chest, and died in 1910. Shortly before her death, she wrote that she wanted her boys' nurse Mary Hodgson to continue caring for them, and that she knew Barrie would continue providing for them, which he did. She named him, along with her mother Emma du Maurier, her brother Guy du Maurier, and Arthur's brother Crompton Llewelyn Davies as their guardians. Barrie told the boys after her death that she had been engaged to him, but Jack and Peter later expressed scepticism of this report.
Her son Peter was the publisher of her niece Daphne du Maurier's book about their grandfather, The Young George du Maurier, letters 1860–1867 (1951).
In the 1978 BBC mini-series The Lost Boys, she was portrayed by Ann Bell. She was played by Kate Winslet in the loosely biographical 2004 movie Finding Neverland, and by Rosalie Craig, Laura Michelle Kelly, and Christine Dwyer in the 2010s musical stage adaptation of it.
- Birkin, Andrew, J. M. Barrie and the Lost Boys.