The name ‘Ambras’ comes from a “Petrus Gonzales” — who in 1956, at the age of 12 was brought as a slave from Tenerife , Canary Islands to the court in France. He had a strikingly hairy face, married young and had 4 children ~ 3 of whom were born hairy. His daughter ‘Tognina’ and son ‘Arrigo’ passed on the trait. Royalty, who called Petrus the “man of the woods”, thought he represented a race of hairy people from the Canary Islands. He and his hairy sat for family portraits and one displayed at a castle near Innsbruck called ‘Ambras’, led to their notoriety as the ‘family of Ambras’ and eventually their condition as 'Ambras syndrome'.
Portrait of Tognina Gonzales
Portrait of Antonietta Gonzales, by Lavinia Fontana, cover image of “The Marvelous Hairy Girls.”