Queen Elizabeth's Drawing up for Sale despite her Mother saying they were 'Poor'

Friday, January 5, 2024
Queen Elizabeth's Drawing up for Sale despite her Mother saying they were 'Poor'

Before Buckingham Palace, the soon-to-be Queen Mother sends a “very poor drawing’ made by her young daughter, Princess Elizabeth, to the creator of Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie.

Incredibly early original sketch from a young Elizabeth II, which is accompanied by an ALS from her mother, the Duchess of York, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who is forwarding her daughter’s sketch to the acclaimed Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. Although both the sketch and letter are undated, it’s strongly believed that they date to the early 1930s, when Princess Elizabeth was between the ages of four and six. The unsigned sketch, which is accomplished in red crayon on an off-white 5 x 8 sheet of 145 Piccadilly (Duke of York monogram) letterhead, is thought to be Elizabeth’s depiction of a proposed new building at the Great Ormond Street Hospital; the building in question, which features a smoking chimney and a roof with an array of windows, is likely either the Nurses Home, which was completed in 1937, or the Southwood Building, which opened in 1938.

The handwritten four-page letter from the Duchess of York, signed “Elizabeth,” is also penned on 145 Piccadilly letterhead, indicating that both sketch and letter were very likely dispatched from the family's London townhouse before King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936. The letter reads: “My dear Sir James, I am so sorry that I did not realize that you were making your speech tonight, I am hurriedly sending round a very poor house I fear. Elizabeth insisted on putting in a roof with lots of little windows for the nursery maids. Please Sir James will you not appeal in her name at all, as I have such difficulties over it, and I am not sure what it is that you wish to say. It is not that I would not feel proud to have her name mentioned by you, only I have had trouble keeping her name apart from charities etc. But I expect that you only wish to say that she drew a picture for you of what the hospital should look like. Please forgive me for saying all this, but you can imagine what troubles I get into! However, I hope that this very poor drawing may be of some little use. I write this in great haste after having met Cynthia [Lady Asquith] who told me that your dinner is tonight.” A postscript on the third page reads: “If you can manage it - will you not let the Press photograph this.” Includes the original hand-addressed mailing envelope. In overall fine condition.

Barrie became a celebrity following the success of Peter Pan and constantly received requests from the great and the good to meet their children. Having been made a baronet by King George V in 1913, and a member of the Order of Merit in 1922, he already had close associations with the Royal Family. It was while he was hosting a birthday party for his secretary’s son, Simon Asquith, whose grandfather was Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, that he first met the Royal princesses while they were holidaying at nearby Glamis Castle. So close to the Royal Family was Barrie, that he even attended Margaret’s third birthday party in 1933. Margaret took to the elderly scribe and later declared: ‘He is my greatest friend, and I am his greatest friend.’ Barrie would quote the very quotable young princess in his 1936 play, The Boy David.

The hospital in question is assuredly the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), which author J. M. Barrie had for several years served as a generous patron and advocate. In fact, after graduating from Edinburgh University, Barrie moved to London and found his first lodgings on Grenville Street, which was located just behind the hospital. It was this house that became the inspiration for the Darlings’ family home in his famous novel Peter Pan. In 1929, Barrie was approached to sit on a committee to help buy land so that GOSH could build a much-needed new wing. Barrie declined but promised ‘to find another way to help.’ Two months later, he donated all of his Peter Pan rights to the hospital. At a Guildhall dinner later that year, Barrie explained the impetus for his gift: ‘At one time, Peter Pan was an invalid in the Hospital...and it was he who put me up to the little thing I did.’

In the letter, the Duchess mentions having met “Cynthia,” ostensibly Lady Cynthia Asquith, Barrie’s private secretary and personal friend, to whom he left most of his estate after he died. Cynthia was also the editor for a book of short stories in aid of the Princess Elizabeth Hospital for Children, which was published in 1935 and included the Barrie story A Children's Hospital in Wartime.

more info on the lot : https://www.rrauction.com/auctions/lot-detail/348198606850122-early-original-sketch-from-young-queen-elizabeth-ii-forwarded-by-the-queen-mother-to-peter-pan-creator-j-m-barrie/?cat=0

ArtDependence WhatsApp Group

Get the latest ArtDependence updates directly in WhatsApp by joining the ArtDependence WhatsApp Group by clicking the link or scanning the QR code below


Subscribe to the Newsletter

Image of the Day

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


About ArtDependence

ArtDependence Magazine is an international magazine covering all spheres of contemporary art, as well as modern and classical art.

ArtDependence features the latest art news, highlighting interviews with today’s most influential artists, galleries, curators, collectors, fair directors and individuals at the axis of the arts.

The magazine also covers series of articles and reviews on critical art events, new publications and other foremost happenings in the art world.

If you would like to submit events or editorial content to ArtDependence Magazine, please feel free to reach the magazine via the contact page.