The Triumph of Time, by Mattia Preti, called Il Calabrese (1613-1699).

Oil on canvas, 220cm by 300cm. Signed l.r.: F.M.P.C/F.

This monumental painting was purchased by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), on one of his early Grand Tours.

The 1688 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The Plaster Dineing Roome & Clossett….1 piece of old Time done by Fra. Matthaus Knt of Malta.’

The 1738 Burghley Inventory records the painting in more detail: ‘The Red Velvet Dining Room On one Side of the Room, the Progress of Time thro’ the Temple of Hercules crowned with Flowers, in his hand a Scithe lifted up; under, a Boy with a Pair of Compasses in one Hand, an Hour-glass in the other, underneath him, Death just cutting the Thread of Life: On one Side of Time Kings, Conquerors, Popes, Cardinals and People of all Ages; underneath him Monuments, some from behind the Image of Hercules, by Francis Matthews, Knight of Malta.’


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