The Nude on the Thames

She is quite the most captivating nude you will see in an English village.  And she owes her existence to an American who lost his life on the Lusitania.

And yet her connection with the elite village of Marlow is as tentative as a theatrical infatuation with a view over the Thames.

She was placed on the Causeway: a village green of sorts, close to the bridge which spans the Thames, on the Buckinghamshire side, looking over to the opposite side, and the legendary hotel, The Compleat Angler.

With not a stitch on, she was not typical of street decor in Marlowe:  despite the town having been home to creative types through the ages, including Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, and TS Eliot.

Her presence is due to an American from Sandusky, Ohio: the American theatre producer, Charles Frohman. Produced of a string of hits both in London’s West End and Broadway, he brought Peter Pan, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up to London in December 1904.

It was a routine trip to London’s theatreland which brought him onto the RMS Lusitania. He was reported calm to the end, tying lifejackets to moses baskets to help babies off the ship.

And the reason for the nude?

She’s the spirit of youth, inspired by Peter Pan. When Frohman’s life ended in tragedy, a group of artists including J.M. Barrie raise the funding and in 1924, the monument was placed in the spot he loved: overlooking the Thames towards the Compleat Angler. It is reputed to be a spot he termed: “the most beautiful spot in the entire world”.

Refurbished and replaced in 2010, the flamboyant figure’s inscription reads:”For ’tis not right that in a house the muses haunt,  mournings should dwell. Such things befit us not”.

7 comments

  1. I do hope someone gets her a blanket in winter

    1. I’ll pop back with a blanket when it gets chilly…

      1. Good, she looks like quite a nice lady, I’d hate to think of her all chilly

  2. You make me miss England. Sigh… There are so many lovely spots, like this one, that are both bucolic and filled with tales that speak to the individual.

    1. Hi Thomas: it is indeed a lovely spot, perfect for a picnic. There’s a town trail which takes in Shelley’s house, and TS Eliot’s.

      But the other side of the Atlantic is full of places which I would love to see. It’s an ambition of mine to take about six months out to see it properly one day….

  3. What an interesting history this beautiful statue has! I love anything connected to Peter Pan, James M. Barrie, and Charles Frohman. Thanks to you the list of places to visit on my next trip to England is growing longer. I’ll need to find a way to stay for months rather than weeks.

    1. Hi Jillian :-) I was only saying today that there is always something new to see here, some new detail we miss the first time and on returning it speaks to us.Like any place, it benefits from visiting and revisiting. Something I intend to do when I cross the pond to the other side…

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