(b. 1548, Cambrai, d. 1615, Paris)


Marble, height 185 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The life-size marble statue of Zephyr is shown standing with his left leg slightly bent, his foot resting on a cloud, and he wears a crown. Next to his left foot is the upturned face of a cherub, who with his blown out cheeks symbolises the blowing wind that Zephyr represents. The wind that is shown blowing from the cherub's mouth goes up and becomes a billowing piece of cloth, held with both hands by Zephyr.

This statue is one of a series of thirteen marbles commissioned from Francavilla by Antonio di Zanobi Bracci in 1574 on the recommendation of the sculptor Giambologna for the garden of the Villa Bracci at Rovezzano, near Florence. The statues were acquired in 1750 by Frederick, Prince of Wales. The crated sculptures were transported to Kew, and in 1786 were apparently still in their crates and stored in a shed.

Apollo and Zephyr were discovered in the grounds at Kew in 1852, and underwent restoration by the sculptor Thomas Thorneycroft (1815-1885). They are lent to the museum by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.