TIM BATCHELOR: This is an example of Edward Collier’s Vanitas still life paintings, where the sumptuous displays of luxurious objects and the pleasures of life are tempered with symbolic warnings. NARRATOR: Curator Tim Batchelor. TIM BATCHELOR: The musical instruments, wine and precious jewels symbolise earthly delights. However, the hour-glass and pocket watch remind the viewer of the passing of time and the skull, the inevitability of death. The theme is continued in the funerary urn in the top left corner which holds in place a piece of paper with a quote in Latin from the Bible, ‘vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas’, the phrase translating as ‘vanity of vanities, all is vanity’. The open book on the left is a copy of a collection of the emblems, ancient and modern, by George Wither the English poet, pamphleteer and satirist, with the text ‘what I was is passed by, what I am away doth fly. What I shall be none do see, yet in that my beauties be.’ NARRATOR: The still life genre originated in the Netherlands where the artist Collier was born. After training in Leiden and Amsterdam he moved to England in 1693. TIM BATCHELOR: This is a time when auctions are starting to happen so artists now have new opportunities to sell their work through auctions whereby they could present their works at taverns, coffee houses, exchanges, where auctions are happening.