14 Things to do at home...
Part 1 of 2
#1: Write a letter. In ink.
Inkwells used to be a standard feature of the 'home office.' Early predecessors of the classic glass and fine metal inkwell were used by even the Ancient Egyptians, in the form of carved stone wells used by scribes. As writing became more common among an increasingly educated and literary upper class in 17th century Europe, inkwells also became "more decorative and elaborate" (AC Silver Co.).
This pyramid-form bronze inkwell with sterling overlay was likely produced by Heintz Metal Shops in New York during the Art Nouveau period. The abstracted floral silver overlay demonstrates the style's feminine and fluid elements, with inspiration drawn from nature and materials that showed off exquisite, traditional craftsmanship. Like many inkwells of the 17th-19th centuries, the metal outer form protects a small, glass jar that would contain the actual ink.
Joe Montana is possibly the best-known American football player, along with Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and Jerry Rice. He excelled at multiple sports including basketball while still in high school, eventually accepting a football scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. Over the course of his career as an NFL quarterback, he played for the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, and was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
While we wouldn't suggest football as an indoor, stay-home activity, we do suggest being inspired by this pro-footballer's athleticism and taking advantage of extra time to stay physically active. Consider moving the furniture first...
These plaques with signed photos of Joe Montana and Dan Marino are part of our upcoming May Online Exclusive auction - stay tuned for more information.
#3: Change up your reading list.
Dr. Seuss said "“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
One place to go, of course, is the past - through the delightful array of contemporary historical fiction or through older texts like these 19th century books on military tactics. Spanning the publication years 1866-1886, these historic volumes offer a glimpse of the minds who would owned them - such as Major Theodore K. Gibbs (1840-1909), who fought in the Civil War and was a Companion of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.
If historic volumes don't strike your fancy, and your library branch is currently closed, see whether your local library system has an online application to let you check out ebooks.
Whatever your preference, happy reading.
Defined as a "family of self-regulation practices that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and development" (Walsh & Shapiro 2006), meditation is commonly used in contemporary society to relieve stress and promote mental clarity.
The practice of meditation dates back to at least 5,000 - 3,000 BCE, illustrated by wall art in the Indus Valley (Psychology Today). It forms a central practice of many religious or philosophical traditions - especially Buddhism, as depicted in this thangka showing Buddha sitting cross-legged on a lotus blossom, with his hands cupped in his lap (coming up in our May 2020 Online Exclusive auction).
In times of stress, self-regulation practices like meditation, whether as part or independent of any religious practice, also provide physical health benefits, such as relief from insomnia, depression, anxiety and even pain and high blood pressure (NCCIH).
So, if you currently have to stay at home, now might be the time to try out different techniques for meditation to develop a stress-relieving practice that works for you.
#5: Learn (or practice) to play an instrument.
According to scientific research conducted by Myriam V. Thoma et al. 2013 on "The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response," music positively impacts the psychobiological stress system.
Like these two Maiden Musicians by the German porcelain manufacturer Meissen, pick up your fiddle or bassoon and make some noise. Duets may be somewhat difficult when you stay at home, but with a little coordination, multiple musicians can play together using video-chat technology.
For more on our Meissen figurines, stay tuned for our May Online Exclusive auction.
#6: Celebrate history.
206 years ago, on April 6, 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated his imperial throne and agreed to be exiled to the Isle of Elba, in the Mediterranean, according to the Treaty of Fontainebleau.
The treaty was not ratified until several days later, by the officials in Paris on April 11 and by Napoleon himself on April 13. It was also not the end of the Napoleonic Wars - the wily Corsican escaped his island prison and gathered up an army during what has been dubbed the Hundred Days.
Napoleon's final defeat came at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815, whereupon he was exiled to another island, St. Helena, and died in 1821.
This Silver Repousse Box with Napoleon Figural Lid, est. $2,000 - 3,000, commemorates the iconic French Emperor seated on horseback, pointing into the distance. Scenes from his military conquests adorn the sides of the box.
The box and other Napoleonic decorative art will be brought to auction in our spring and summer sales.
About the Author
Katharina Biermann joined Oakridge Auction Gallery in the beginning of 2019, having completed her Master of Letters at the University of Glasgow in the History of Art with a specialization in Dress and Textile Histories. Ms. Biermann developed hands-on expertise of European arts and culture while interning in internationally renowned institutions including the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY. She remains particularly interested in medieval and 19th-20th century visual and material culture.