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Statue - 'Mercury', C. Douglas Richardson & W.H. Rocke, circa 1899 Object Reg. No: SH 970135

Summary:
Statue titled 'Mercury' modelled by C. Douglas Richardson and cast by W.H. Rocke, circa 1899. It was made for the proprietors of The Age newspaper and stood astride the Age building at 233 Collins Street, Melbourne from 1899-1969. In 1969 it was moved to the Age building on Spencer Street first standing on a platform on the corner of Spencer and Lonsdale Streets and then on the Spencer Street verandah. The statue did not appear to best advantage in either location, and was placed in storage. In 1985 it was lent to the Museum of Victoria for the Story of Victoria exhibition, and was then donated to the Museum in 1997.

The statue was created by the sculptor and painter Charles Douglas Richardson, who was inspired by Giambologna's bronze statue, made in Florence in 1580. It was made of twenty pieces of beaten copper which were riveted together and cast by W.H. Rooke of Melbourne.

Mercury fascinated the citizens of Melbourne when he first appeared on top of the newly renovated Age building in Collins Street, Melbourne, in August 1899. Many were alarmed at the prospect of the first blustery north wind dislodging the statue. The Age assured them that Mercury would not make a sudden descent into Collins Street, as he had a 3-inch steel tube passing from the shoulder, through the body and leg, and embedded nine feet into a stone block in the wall.

Mercury, the Roman messenger god, symbolised the newspaper's role in communication.
Description:
Large statue of the Roman god Mercury. The statue is about four metres high, and the figure is standing on top of an orb, representing the world, and carrying a lamp. It is made of copper on a steel frame.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from David Syme & Co. Ltd., 1997
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 3480 mm (Height), 1000 mm (Width), 1850 mm (Length)
Dimension Comment: Metal Base: 87.00 circ. x 60.00 high. Wood Base: 100.00 width x 36.00d. Weight: Statue - 90 Kilos. Base: 50 Kilos. Total Weight: 140 Kilograms.

More information

Tagged with: art, newspapers, artistic practices, sculpture, artists, public art
Themes this item is part of: Charles Douglas Richardson, Sculptor (1853-1932), Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: ART & CRAFT
Secondary Classification: Sculpture
Tertiary Classification: bronze
Issued By: Mr Charles Richardson, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1899
Mint: W.H. Rocke, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1899
Artist: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1899-1969
Place & Date Depicted: Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1985-1992

Displayed in the Story of Victoria Exhibition
Deity Depicted: Mercury (Ancient deity)

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