Porthos – JM Barrie’s dog


Porthos  the male Saint Bernard (1894–1901) was J.M Barrie's pet dog. J.M Barrie was the

writer of Peter Pan and thus the nanny dog called Nana.

 One might understandably assume that  the dog was

named after one of the Three Musketeers, but in fact, he

was named after the dog in George Du Maurier's Novel

Peter Ibbetson. George was a french-born english

cartoonist and author, and also the father of Barrie's

dear friend Sylvia.L Davies and her sons, who in turn

was the  inspiration of Peter Pan in the first place.

George de Maurier was also father to Gerald

de Maurier, who was the the first actor to play

Captain Hook.  The dog in du Maurier's book could

well have been named after the 3 Musketeers.   The

coincidence of Barrie having a dog named after the

dog in  Sylvia Davies's  father's novel piqued her

interest when they first met. Porthos was a wedding

present from Barrie to  hif wife Mary, purchased

while they were in Lucerne, Switzerland. But

although Mary cared for the dog, James played

with him, and quickly became Porthos' favorite. 

It was Porthos who accompanied Barrie on his walks in  the  Kensington Gardens when he

met  George  de Maurier (Sylvia's oldest brother) and  Sylvia Davies. Barrie amused her boys 

by dancing with Porthos, and other antics.  Porthos later appeared with George, Jack, and

Peter (Sylvia's sons) in The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island the photo book that Barrie

made in 1901 of the boys' play adventures, with Porthos playing the dog of the pirate

"Swarthy" (which they trained to be theirs) and a wild tiger (in a papier mâché mask).

Porthos fell ill in the autumn of 1901, and when the Barries

could no longer keep him at their house, they brought him

to the Dog's Home at Battersea, where he was put to sleep

and died.  A year later, the Barries adopted Luath, (a male 

Landseer Newfoundland) who would be the basis for the

Darling's nurse  Nana of the Peter Pan story. Nonetheless,

Nana has been depicted (especially  by Disney) as a Saint

Bernard like Porthos, and the two dogs have often been c

onfused with each other in accounts about the Barries and


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