Spirit of the Woods
The statue is more commonly known as 'Peter Pan'
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Detail: pixies attempting to reach fledglings in nest. (photographed after refurbishment in 2004-2005). Location: Botanical Gardens Description: A life-size bronze figure seated on a tree stump. The youth's left arm is raised above his head, his right arm rests on a branch. Over the branch a fleece is thrown, one end falling onto the youth's lap. A bag or cloth is secured at his waist by a shoulder strap. Various woodland creatures rest or scurry round on the ground holding the tree stump. A verse from the Riddle Trail is inscribed in the new stone on which the statue is now mounted. Commission: Presented to the city by Sir Chas. Clifford under the terms of his will 1934. The statue is described in Sir Charles Clifford's will as 'representative of Peter Pan or the Spirit of the Woods' (Sir Charles Clifford's will, 1934, copy from Sheffield Probate Registry, p.2) The statue is commonly called Peter Pan, but every element suggests Pan, the Greek god of pastures, flocks and woods. Rabbits, mice, frogs, birds, and squirrels which surround the figure are natural inhabitants of such places and elves are imaginary woodland spirits. The presence of flocks is suggested by the fleece caught in the tree branch and the bag at the figure's waist might refer to Pan's pipes. Comment: Nothing is known about the artist, the piece could originate either from the 19th Century or the early 20th. It was cast by Cashmore & Co. of London and is now very polished and somewhat delapidated - one or two elements have been broken off. [Update: 2005] The statue has been renovated, by Chris Boulton, as part of the massive refurbishment programme for the Botanical Gardens. Sadly it is still sited so that sunlight is predominantly from behind the piece which makes it harder to see from the front; otherwise it now looks in superb condition.
© Sheffield Hallam University
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Image Storage Location:
Public art -- England -- Sheffield
Public sculpture -- England -- Sheffield
Animals in art