Intertwining history and legend, the story of Cleopatra (68-30 B.C.) has inspired artists for centuries. Here the infamous Queen of Egypt is depicted seductively reclining on a monument of similar renown: the sphinx. With her forlorn gaze and dejected manner, she may be reflecting on her storied past or, more likely, contemplating her eventual suicide by cobra bite, a theme alluded to by the serpent coiled around her left arm, and one frequently represented by artists of the period. The present group seamlessly intertwines highly polished marble and richly veined onyx in a manner that would, no doubt, have appealed to patrons of the late 19th century whose penchant for exoticism created a burgeoning market for similar sculptures. Ferdinando Vichi, the creator of the present work, is an artist about whom seemingly little is known. His grandfather founded the prolific Gallerie Vichi in Florence, and he also collaborated with the city's Bazzanti gallery. Works by Vichi which have appeared at auction in recent memory include monumental representations of mythological, allegorical and literary figures, and all demonstrate the careful attention to detail and finish which would have distinguished his work from that of his contemporaries.