The circa 1830 Connecticut Greek Revival-style home known locally as the Historic Trowbridge-Thoms House belonging to longtime antiques dealer Thomas McBride, plus the adjacent barn that has served as an antiques shop for over 45 years, will be sold in an on-site auction slated for Saturday, June 5. The property will cross the block at noon.
“At age 81, Mr. McBride has made the decision to retire, creating a rare opportunity for collectors looking to add quality merchandise to their collections and anyone looking to buy a beautiful and historic home,” said Real Estate Agent Mary Helen Levine. “This is undoubtedly one of the largest on-site auctions of its type in the last 35 years. Bidders should plan to stay for the duration.”
The 1,000 or so antique items will be sold starting at 12:30 p.m. McBride has devoted his life to acquiring and selling the finest antique items for his personal use and shop, called Thomas McBride Antiques.“Some pieces will have dust and cobwebs on them, attesting to the fact they’ve been waiting for a new owner to enjoy and display them,” Autioneer Tim Chapulis said.
He added, “Anyone attending this auction will be stepping back in time. This is what you would have come upon if you had been on the antique trail in the 1950s or ‘60s.” Mr. McBride primarily collected period furniture (mostly American, but with some French and English pieces), artwork by Ronald Lee Anderson, vintage lamps, antique clocks, glass, china and more.
The house and barn, situated on about 1/3 of an acre, were built around 1830 by Henry Trowbridge, a tanner. He used to take his hides down the street to Tannery Brook, to wash them. His son inherited the property and later sold it to a Mr. & Mrs. Thoms in 1927. They operated the barn as an antiques shop. McBride continued to do same when he bought the home in 1960.
In the early 1930s, the barn was used by the Thoms family as a small bar and restaurant called The Canteen that served the patrons of a nearby community playhouse that has since been torn down and replaced with a town hall building. In its heyday, the playhouse was performed in by some of the biggest stage acts of the day like John and Ethel Barrymore and Lunt & Fontaine.
The main house – which over time came to be known as the Historic Trowbridge-Thoms House – features four bedrooms, two full baths, a double living room, library, pantry and two-car garage with a summer bedroom above the garage. The two-story barn totals around 2,300 square feet.
Period furnishings will dominate the day, as around 200 pieces (between the shop and home) will cross the block. At least 15 drop-leaf tables will be sold, to include a circa 1780-1790 maple example with Marlboro stop fluted legs, attributed to Goddard Townsends of Newport, R.I.; as well as Chippendale, Queen Anne and Hepplewhite acanthus carved Federal tables.
Also offered will be a circa 1780 Queen Anne highboy, rare small size, cherry with fan carved drawers, made in Connecticut; three period Connecticut cherrywood and pine four-post beds with tapering headboards and headposts and reeded footposts, with full canopies and original to the house (acquired from the Thoms family); and a Connecticut Valley two-piece corner cupboard, circa 1780, cherry and tulip woods, with the original glass and hardware.
Three circa-1780 Chippendale Queen Anne cherry slant-front desks with ball and claw feet, some with secret drawers, will also come under the gavel, as will an Edwardian Adams-style sideboard, satinwood with inlaid and painted decorations, circa 1890-1910, 70 inches tall; and a mahogany chest of drawers from the school of New York cabinet maker Michael Allison.
The glass and china is a blend of American, English, French and Hungarian, to include pieces by Herend, which rivals Sevres, Meissen and Wedgewood in terms of quality. Herend was renowned for crafting pieces for the Rothschilds in Europe, and Mr. McBride’s collection features some bird pieces made for the Rothschilds. The bird pieces are coveted by collectors.
Also offered will be a Sevres piece that reportedly belonged to Marie Antoinette; English china; a pitcher from the Tucker porcelain factory in Philadelphia featuring the trilinear rose and showing a vignette of young girls picking roses; American cut glass pieces and American pattern glass. Lighting will include brass chandeliers and reverse painted cut glass table lamps.
McBride was a collector, fan and friend of Ronald Lee Anderson (1929-2002), who at one point had a studio not far from McBride’s antique shop in Litchfield. Mr. Anderson was a prolific, gifted artist who trained in Baltimore but also lived in England and France, as well as Litchfield. His realistic oil paintings are in many collections. Over 100 of his works will be sold.
The auction will also feature vintage clocks, to include early Connecticut Wooden Works shelf clocks (some made by Eli Terry and other renowned makers); rugs and carpets, some of them room sized; Chinese pieces, porcelains and furniture; some Japanese pieces; brass bird cages; brass andirons; and other decorative accessories.
Previews will be held prior to the sale, on Saturday, May 22, from noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 23, from 1-6 p.m., as well as on the days leading up to the auction: on Wednesday, June 2, from noon to 5 p.m.; Thursday, June 3 from noon to 6:30 p.m.; and Friday, June 4, from noon to 6 p.m.