17th or 18th Century Statue of the Goddess Flora

Flora, Roman Goddess of Flowers

I first saw this beauty about 18 years ago. At that point the statue was not for sale. It had sat nicely outside Thomas Church’s breakfast room in his secret garden. Church was Olmsted’s favorite student. Olmsted designed Central park. Ultimately Church designed landscapes for many leading 20th century industrialists and was extremely influential in West Coast design, playing an important role at Sunset Magazine. This statue was purchased in Florence in 1957 for roughly the price of a new Cadillac. The statue’s subject is Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, spring and fertility. She was married to the god of wind, Zephyr and lover to Hercules. The top section dates back to the 17th or 18th century, while the base is an early 20th century restoration. This explains the variation in color between sections. The statue was attributed to a student of Giambologna named Franca Villa. This piece is meant to sit on an elevated pedestal in a formal garden. If she is not raised, the perspective is incorrect. She is a truly amazing and very rare piece.

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