The Sands of Time

Thomas Richard Williams1850 - 1852

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

This daguerreotype stereograph image by Thomas Richard Williams is a still life memento mori composition. An assemblage of a human skull, an hourglass with the sand running out, an extended compass, and a book abandoned mid-read with eyeglasses placed upside down on the page, the image evokes the temporary nature of mortal life and the inevitability of death. The objects also refer to intellectual pursuits and to the inevitable triumph of the soul over the mind.

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  • Title: The Sands of Time
  • Creator: Thomas Richard Williams
  • Date: 1850 - 1852
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Stereograph, daguerreotype
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Stereograph
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XT.266.9
  • Inscription: Inscription: None. Secondary Inscription: Inscribed on backing, at upper left corner, in pencil: "T.R. Williams".
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: English
  • Classification: Photographs