In 1839 the 6th Duke of Devonshire acquired this colossal marble foot, and later recorded its provenance: "The great ancient Greek foot was sold to me by Carlo Finelli, the sculptor in Rome: it belonged to the Quinigi [Guinigi] family at Lucca and was long in their palace."
The foot is wearing an ancient form of sandal. It is proposed that the feet were part of a colossal statue of a seated Greek god or goddess that may have stood approximately 11 metres high. It is likely that the feet formed part of an acrolith. This is a composite statue where the exposed flesh parts such as feet, hands and head are made of marble, and the clothed parts made of another material, such as wood.
There is a similar right foot at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, which is believed to match the left foot at Chatsworth.
In 1992 a chiropodist wrote to Chatsworth with an interesting insight. He considered the original owner of the foot was a wearer of slip-on shoes as all the 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.
In 2017 the Chatsworth foot was surface cleaned and iron oxide staining in the marble was much reduced.