In 1839, the 6th Duke of Devonshire acquired this colossal marble foot, and he recorded its provenance: "The great ancient Greek foot was sold to me by Carlo Finelli, the sculptor in Rome: it belonged to the Quirigi family at Lucca and was long in their palace."
The foot is wearing an ancient form of a flip-flop and research has shown that this sandal is indicative of fashion in the 5th century BC and was almost certainly worn by women. It is assumed, therefore, that the feet were part of a colossal statue of a Greek goddess which may have stood approximately 11 metres high. It is thought that that the feet were sculpted separately to the figure and inserted upon completion.
In 1992, a chiropodist undertook further research and wrote to Chatsworth with an interesting insight. He considered the original owner of the foot was a wearer of slip-on shoes as all toes show signs of fixed clawing and being held together in a cramped space. The fourth and fifth toes also show signs of substantial corns.
There is a right foot at the Staatliche Museum in Berlin, which is thought to match the left foot at Chatsworth. The right foot is not weight bearing as the heel is slightly raised off the ground which is typical of a relaxed stance. The weight of the body would have rested on the left foot.