LITCHFIELD, Conn. – The beautiful circa 1830 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 June 5. The property will cross the block at noon.
Real estate broker for the home property is Mary Helen Levine of Litchfield Real Estate Auctions, LLC, of Litchfield. The contents of the barn/antique shop and home will be auctioned by Tim Chapulis of Tim’s, Inc., based in nearby Bristol. The house is located at 62-64 West Street (Rte. 202) in the center of Litchfield, directly across from the historic Litchfield Green.
“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 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 that they’ve been waiting for a new owner to enjoy and display them,” 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.” 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 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 the 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; it 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 saw such performers as 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. Bay windows have been added in the front. The grounds have been impeccably maintained.
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.
Other tables will include an American mahogany D-end dining table that seats 12 to 14 people fully extended, with two extra leaves; an American mahogany drop-leaf table with reeded legs, shaped leaved and one drawer, crafted in the manner of Duncan Phyfe; and a spectacular circa-1770 mahogany Baltimore Federal inlaid hunt table with actual shell and bell flower inlay.
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.
Bidders will also be treated to candle stands, side chairs, card tables, lift-top blanket chests, Windsor chairs, Queen Anne chairs and other furniture items. Some of the pieces were made in Connecticut, mostly of cherry or tiger maple, like the fine armchair made in Litchfield, carved at each arm’s end scroll with a sunflower. Other pieces were crafted in Baltimore and Massachusetts, as well as some from Southern states.
The glass and china is a blend of American, English, French and Hungarian, to include pieces by Herend, which rivals Sevres, Meissen and Wedgwood in terms of quality. Herend was renowned for crafting pieces for the Rothschilds in Europe, and McBride’s collection features bird pieces made for the Rothschilds.
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. 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. More than 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 May 22 from noon to 5 p.m. and May 23 from 1-6 p.m., as well as on the days leading up to the auction.
For the real estate property portion of the auction, bidders must bring a $50,000 certified check, bank cashier’s check or cash to bid on the property. The winning price will be hammer (highest accepted bid) plus a 10 percent buyer’s premium, paid by the buyer. Buyer will have up to 60 days to close, subject to prior sale. There is no mortgage contingency. This is not a foreclosure.
Terms for the antiques portion of the auction are a 15 percent buyer’s premium for cash and known checks (18 percent for major credit cards). There will be a $50 charge for any returned check. Admittance to the auction and previews will be a donation (suggested, $5 per person) for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, in memory of Peter W. Chapulis, Tim’s late father. To date, Tim’s, Inc. has succeeded in raising $29,500 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
For more information about the house, barn and property, you may call Mary Helen Levine of Litchfield Real Estate Auctions, LLC, at 203-574-2111 or 203-525-4753, or visit www.LitchfieldRealEstateAuctionsllc.com.
To learn more about the antiques to be sold, visit www.timsauction.com, which has more than 500 color photos of the lots to be offered in the June 5 auction.
Photos courtesy Tim’s Inc.
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