"I posed, for the first time, as the Winged Victory"
Victorian style Cupid
Public DomainVictorian style Cupid - Credit: Karen Hatzigeorgiu

Fevvers begins her working life posing as Cupid, the Roman god of love and desire.  Cupid is most often depicted as a naked baby or child armed with a golden bow and arrows which, on piercing a person's flesh, would cause them to fall instantly in love.  

On reaching puberty, Fevvers' role changes to that of Winged Victory.  Also known as Nike of Samothrace, this is a statue dating from the 2nd century BC on display at the Louvre, Paris.  Now missing its head and arms, the statue depicts the Greek goddess Nike, who personified victory.

Nike of Samothrace
Public DomainNike of Samothrace - Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen

The statue was created to celebrate victory in a sea battle, and may have stood originally in an open air theatre or altar.  It was discovered in 1863, and was applauded for its lifelike depiction of the human body in motion and of the flowing drapes of cloth in its dress.  Although Ma Nelson provides Fevvers with a sword to fill her empty hands, it is thought that the right hand of the statue was originally held cupped to its mouth to cry out in triumph.  

The statue was a favourite of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who included reproductions of it in several of his buildings.  It also formed a model for the original FIFA World Cup trophy in 1930 and for the Rolls Royce figurehead; a larger copy also stands outside Caesar's Palace casino in Las Vegas.