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An hourglass (or sand timer) in a wooden frame.
Sand, glass and wood
Museum number: X90
This hour glass was displayed by Soane in the Monk's Parlour, next to the 17th century statue of a monk which he claimed was a portrait of the (fictional) creator of the parlour, 'Padre Giovanni' (a play on his own name). The symbolism of the hour glass, which enables time to be measured by the regulated trickle of sand from one glass bulb to another, is that of time itself, a reminder that human existence is fleeting (the 'sands of time' will run out for every life) and in the context of the Parlour it is perhaps a reminder of the deliberate ambiguity of that interior - a fictional medieval parlour for an imaginary medieval hermit which was in fact the contemporary creation of Sir John Soane himself.
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