Although not identical, the present marble figure closely follows the celebrated antique marble of the Hermaphrodite, formerly part of the Borghese collection but now in the Louvre. That marble seems to have been discovered in the early 17th century, and by 1620 there is a record of payment being made to Gianlorenzo Bernini for its restoration, including the creation of the distinctive buttoned mattress on which the figure lies (Haskell and Penny, loc. cit.). In the present case, however, the figure lacks the male genitalia of the antique original, and the silver appliques along the sides of the elaborate ormolu base indicate that the figure here is intended to represent Venus.
The beautifully executed base recalls a similar arrangement in the Galerie Girardon, the set of engravings of the sculptor Girardon's collection set in an imaginary interior. In those engravings there appears a pair of bronzes - one of the Hermaphrodite and the other of a pendant reclining figure - on slanted giltwood bases with lambrequin decoration along the edges and fantastical beasts supporting the corners, much as can be seen on the present base (Souchal, op. cit., p. 41, fig. 28).
Despite this French connection, stylistically the base here appears to be Italian in origin, and may well originate from the Grand Ducal workshops in Florence. The workshops, set up under the patronage of the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany, were noted for their extensive use of rich materials, especially inlaid hardstone decoration. The high quality of the present ormolu base and the use of the silver mounts reflect this tradition, and stylistically they are closely comparable to mounts such as those seen on the cabinet on stand executed in the Grand Ducal workshops in 1709 for the Elector Palatine (see Colle, op. cit., no. 43, pp. 182-185). Those mounts, designed by the sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652-1725), include two female figures flanking the armorial cartouche which are facially highly similar to the faces of the mermaids on the bronze base here. The case for a Florentine origin is further strengthened by the fact that the Medici had purchased a copy of the Hermaphrodite in 1669 which was exhibited in the Uffizi, and which would have provided a ready inspiration for the author of the present marble.