This is the bronze statue of Mercury at 2 Ladbroke Grove which adorned the Mercury Theatre, a poet’s theatre where Eliot, Auden et al used to have their plays put on. They planned to open with a season of Yeats plays but the theatre was run by ‘homo-communists’ who didn’t like being ordered about by an Irish hetero-fascist.
The wand in Mercury’s hand looks like the type of medical wand associated with Asclepius, but is actually a Caduceus. “It is said the wand would wake the sleeping and send the awake to sleep. If applied to the dying, their death was gentle; if applied to the dead, they returned to life.”
Powell and Pressburger’s film The Red Shoes used the Mercury Theatre as its film set.
It is now The Kensington Temple.
Photos: Julie Goldsmith