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”.