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Father Time

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Title: Father Time  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Fountain of Time, Time and fate deities, Chronos, The Santa Clause 2, Narnia (world)
Collection: Holiday Characters, Iconography, Personifications, Time, Time and Fate Gods
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Father Time

A 19th-century Father Time with Baby New Year
Father Time in Fountain of Time
Allegorical portrait of Elizabeth I with Old Father Time at her right in the background and Death at her left (dated around 1610)

Father Time is the anthropomorphized depiction of time.


  • Description 1
  • In popular culture 2
    • Art 2.1
    • Books 2.2
    • Business and industry 2.3
    • Comics, magazines and periodicals 2.4
    • Film and television 2.5
    • Music 2.6
    • Sculpture 2.7
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Father Time is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, dressed in a robe and carrying a scythe and an hourglass or other timekeeping device (which represents time's constant one-way movement, and more generally and abstractly, entropy). This image derives from several sources, including the Grim Reaper and Chronos, the Greek Titan of human time, reaping and calendars, or the Lord of Time.

Around New Year's Eve many editorial cartoons use the convenient trope[1] of Father Time as the personification of the previous year (or "the Old Year") who typically "hands over" the duties of time to the equally allegorical Baby New Year (or "the New Year") or who otherwise characterizes the preceding year.[2][3]

In popular culture

Father Time is an established symbol in numerous cultures, and appears in a variety of art and media. In some cases, they appear specifically as Father Time, while in other cases they may have another name (such as Saturn) but the characters demonstrate the attributes which Father Time has acquired over the centuries.


  • Saturn, in his incarnation as Father Time, is the central figure in Simon Vouet's 1627 painting, Time Vanquished by Love, Hope & Beauty, which is in the collection of the Museo de Prado in Madrid, Spain.[4]


  • Old Father Time appears in the fantasy novel series Nightside as an elderly character tending to peoples' needs for time travel—and in some cases—guidance.
  • Father Time appears in the fairy tale themed short story, written by L. Frank Baum. Entitled "The Capture of Father Time". That Father Time was captured by a son of Arizonian cowboy named Jim because of his foolishness.
  • Time is one of the Incarnations of Immortality in Piers Anthony's series of the same name. Time (also referred to as "Chronos") appears in several of the books and is the main character of Bearing an Hourglass. For most of the series he appears as a middle-aged man in a blue robe (which has the power to age to oblivion anything which attacks him) and bearing an hourglass which he can use to control the flow of time and move himself through both time and space.
  • Father Time is painted in the ceiling of the dungeon, in the Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Pit and the Pendulum.

Business and industry

  • Father Time was the logo for the Elgin Watch Company. Notable in the logo was that Father Time had switched out his traditional hourglass for a watch.

Comics, magazines and periodicals

  • Father Time made numerous appearances in the classic comic Little Nemo in Slumberland, both as a general representation of time and as a symbol of the new year.[5][6]
  • Father Time is a recurring character in Tatsuya Ishida's webcomic Sinfest, often appearing as an infant immediately on or after the Western New Year, and as an old man fated to die during the end of the year.

Film and television

  • Father Time appeared in Regular Show episode called "It's Time" voiced by Alan Sklar. He appears to be made out of clocks and wears a purple hat. Father Time gives Mordecai a second chance to stop his jealously towards Rigby and Margaret.
  • Chronos features in the Supernatural episode "Time after Time" (Season 7).

.father time appeared in teen titans go! episode more of the same as one of the masters of time

  • "Father Time" is a character in Jude the Obscure, a novel by Thomas Hardy. Father Time is the name given to Jude Fawley's son, who is dreadfully melancholy and commits suicide at a young age.
  • In Mitch Albom's latest book The Time Keeper, Dor, the central character, is Father Time. He is freed from exile and sent to Earth on the condition that he teaches two people on Earth the true importance of time, a teenage girl who does not wish to live anymore, and a dying old billionaire who wishes to live forever.


  • "Father Time" is the name of a song on Blind Melon's album For My Friends.
  • "Father Time" is the name of a song on Animal Collective's album Centipede Hz.
  • "Father Time" is referenced in Lil' Wayne's song 6 Foot 7 Foot.


  • An old statue of Father Time sits on the grounds at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England.
  • A clock featuring Father Time, created by Guéret Frêres, Atelier Cartier, and Vincenti et Cie, may be viewed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[7] The museum also owns a drawing that is a study for a similar clock.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Mike Luckovich Copyright 2010 Creators Syndicate. "Father time takes a beating – Foreign Relations Political and Editorial Cartoons". The Week. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  2. ^ "The Father Time Comics and Cartoons – Cartoonist Group – Lisa Benson's Editorial Cartoons". Cartoonist Group. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  3. ^ dePIXion studios "AAEC – Political Cartoons". Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  4. ^ "Museo Nacional del Prado: On-line gallery". 15 September 2009. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  5. ^ "Digital Collection of Classic Comic Strips". Comic Strip Library. 31 December 1905. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  6. ^ "Digital Collection of Classic Comic Strips". Comic Strip Library. 29 December 1907. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  7. ^ "The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Clock with Father Time". Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  8. ^ "The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Father Time on a Globe; Design for a Clock". 3 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 

External links

  • "Old Father Time" on Penumbra
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