A Meissen watch stand figure of Cronus, circa 1745.

The figure of ‘Father Time’ was modelled by J J Käendler (1706-1775) who became the principal designer at Meissen in 1733 and was famous for his models in the rococo style. The model was originally intended to carry a watch, but the 1763 Burghley Inventory describes it as holding a portrait miniature of Hannah-Sophia, wife of Brownlow, 8th Earl of Exeter, dressed as Mary, Queen of Scots and painted circa 1725 by Christian Friedrich Zincke: “Lady Exeter’s dressing room….a figure of time with Lady Exeters picture”. Almost a century later, the 1854 Inventory records the miniature still in situ: “Lady Exeter’s Dressing Room. Old Time holding a miniature of Hannah Sophia Countess of Exeter by Zincke. The scythe is broken and figure chipped.” For the 2016 Treasury Exhibition, ‘The Georgians at Burghley’, Time, or Cronus, was displayed carrying a watch, as was originally intended; a magnificent 17th Century gold, enamel and rock crystal pair-cased watch, thought to have belonged to John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700).


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