Heritage100

Statue of a Goddess

Statue of a Goddess

...mutilated but handsomely draped statue of a goddess

A “mutilated but handsomely draped statue of a goddess” – the words of Sir Richard Worsley describing this piece after he acquired the statue from the Greek island of Chios during his tour of the Mediterranean in the 1780s.

Whilst on this expedition, he collected many more attractive, complete statues to adorn his house at Appuldurcombe on the Isle of Wight, and this statue was relegated to the gardens of the house, where it was rediscovered when the site was taken into guardianship.

Believing it to be a Victorian copy of an original Hellenic statue, it lay in storage for several years before anyone guessed at its significance, and specialists confirmed its age as Ancient Greek, and its rarity.

Quick Facts

  • Date made about 350 BC
  • Made of Pentelic Marble
  • Found on the Island of Chios, Greece
  • Date found 1785
  • Acquired by Sir Richard Worsley
  • Date moved to Appuldurcome House 1787
  • Recovered from the garden at Appuldurcombe House, Isle of Wight

Facts

  • It was the identification of the marble that gave away the statue's origins. Pentelic marble is a particularly fine stone and was highly sought after in Ancient Greece. It is a flawless white marble with a yellow tint, which means that the stone shines golden under sunlight. When she was complete, she would have made an impressive sight.
  • The identity of the goddess is difficult to determine, given the lack of a head and arms, but she has been identified as Kybele, the Mother of the Gods on the basis of comparison with other seated, draped figures of the period. It has been suggested that the statue may have originally been the Mother of the Gods wearing a crown-like hat and holding a drum in her left hand and a sceptre in her right.

Did you know?

Whilst Roman or Neo-classical copies of Greek statues are common – most of the statues you will see at grand stately houses are copies - to find an original Hellenic statue is incredibly rare.

Things to Do

Visit the now ruined house at Appuldurcombe or come and see the statue itself at Fort Brockhurst.

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