I captured this image within the gardens of Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. The statue, one created by artist Maria Louisa Lander, is that of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World. Her rendition is that of her imaginative design of what little Virginia would have looked liked as a woman. For those of you unfamiliar of the mysterious story of Virginia and the Lost Colony, read more here.
What I didn’t know, until recently, is the extraordinary history of all this piece endured before finding its final resting place within the gardens. The artist created this piece in Rome over a fourteen month period and upon its completion in 1859, it was placed aboard a ship and in 1860 began its journey to the United States. The ship, however, sank off the coast of Spain where the statue remained at the bottom of the sea for two years until Lander paid to recover it.
Once recovered, the buyer of the statue died from a fire in his home but thankfully the statue was recovered and found its way back to Ms. Lander’s possession where it remained until her death in 1923, leaving it to the state of North Carolina.
It then sat in a public building in Raleigh where it soon received complaints because of its nudity and ultimately was placed in a basement then later to a state auditor’s office. It was here that the piece repeatedly suffered vandalism by way of mockers applying lipstick to her.
Her journey wasn’t finished yet though. In 1938 she was crated up and sent to the director of what is now the famous play “The Lost Colony” on Roanoke Island where she survived a flooding and then later was moved to his home in Chapel Hill where she remained crated until the 1950’s when upon his death it was donated to what is now her home, The Elizabethan Gardens.
One hundred years after her creation and harrowing journey, she is a beautiful addition to the Gardens surrounded by live oaks and flowers that beckons you to sit a spell and take in the history and the beauty that Roanoke Island and the Elizabethan Gardens offers.