Behind the Scenes

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Peter Llewelyn Davies

English publisher and a muse for J.M. Barrie, Peter Llewelyn Davies (1897-1960), was in foster care. Peter Llewelyn Davies was the middle of 5 boys born to Sylvia du Maurier and Arthur Llewelyn Davies.

In 1897, celebrated writer J.M. Barrie, met the eldest 3 Davies boys—George, then 4, 3-year-old Jack and baby Peter in his pram - while walking his dog in the local park, and the 4 became good friends. Later that year, Barrie met the boys’ parents and they became friends too. In 1907, Arthur Davies died of cancer. In 1910 Sylvia also died of cancer. Barrie then “informally adopted” or fostered the 5 boys, which included the youngest, Michael and Nicolas.

At 17 Peter joined up and served in the British Army, service for which he received a Military Cross.

6 years after the war ended, Peter Davies, with Barrie’s help, set up as a publisher and made his business a success. A majority share of Peter Davies Ltd was bought by William Heinemann in 1937. Heinemann Ltd fully incorporated Peter Davies Ltd in 1977.

Peter Davies killed himself in 1960. By then he was in his early 60s and chronically depressed. Davies’ eldest son, Ruthven, believed that his father felt exploited by Barrie and resented not being included in Barrie’s will when he died in 1937.