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Object Story


“There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow.” - Shakespeare, Hamlet


J. Franks, Vertu Art + Design, Founder

This very personal “momento mori” is my own.


I was taking a stroll in Geneva, Switzerland, when a baby sparrow fell directly from the sky with a thud at the crown of my feet. The rest is now history, but the story came to my mind, when a sparrow flew into my library through the window yesterday, as I was reading object stories for #collectorsathome, a zoom series I am guest curating for the Canadian Society of Decorative Arts.


Years ago, a virus not unlike COVID, spread through our house in Switzerland, likely transmitted by that baby sparrow. The repercussions were more than I like to share publicly. Lessons were learned that many are collectively learning now.


Although I do firmly believe in appreciating art for art sake, it is true that sometimes our lives and experiences, or that of our ancestors, are often captured in objects. Historic objects can act as contemporary windows or didactic views into ourselves and wider culture. I am enjoying hearing some of your object stories, even more than the objects themselves, because art is ultimately about human expression and experience.


Image: French gilt porcelain sparrow on a bed of 18th-century Vincennes - Sevres porcelain flowers in a hand-woven basket, assembled when I left Switzerland to remind me of the beauty and fragility of life.


Photo by J. Franks


#collectorsathome #lifeofvertu

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© 2018 Created by Jennifer Franks

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