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Luna and Mercury-plaster panel from Stodmarsh Court, KentLuna and Mercury – plaster panel from Stodmarsh Court, Kent

Mercury and the Moon are separated by an ornate Doric column. On the left is the inscription LUNA, beneath which the Moon is shown driving a chariot pulled by two dolphins along a bank of cloud. Likewise Mercury, on the right, drives a chariot pulled by cockerels, beneath the inscription MERCURIUS. At the lower right corner of the fragment the astrologer and alchemist, whose job it was to turn base metals to gold, represent these celestial bodies’ influence on health and good fortune.

The fragment was painted by an unknown artist, presumably English, and is based on engravings of the Seven Planets by Virgil Solis.

(www.collections.vam.ac.uk)

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