A Meissen watch stand figure of Cronus, circa 1745.

The figure of Cronus, or ‘Father Time,’ was modelled by J J Kaendler (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 (1701-1754): ‘Lady Exeter’s dressing room….a figure of time with Lady Exeters picture.’

The miniature was painted circa 1725 by Christian Friedrich Zincke (1683-1767) when Lady Exeter was depicted dressed as Mary, Queen of Scots.

It is rather charming that almost a century later, the 1854 Inventory records the figure with miniature still in situ in: ‘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.’

This Lady Exeter was Isabella, 2nd Marchioness, and great granddaughter-in-law of Hannah Sophia.

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). See WAT04029.

For the 2022 Treasury Exhibition, ‘The Collections of Two Countesses at Burghley’ Time once again carried the miniature of Hannah Sophia and the the broken scythe was repaired.


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