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Tea Caddies from The Bramble Collection

in The English Interior
Thursday, September 3 at 11am

Mark Bramble, was a passionate collectors of Tea Caddies. Mark started with a small collection of caddies formed by his Mother and grew the collection to well over 500.  Acquired from dealers around the globe, they were frequently acquired  during his many worldwide travels with the various productions of his Broadway shows. The collection bequeathed to the Kent County Historical Society in Chestertown, Maryland, is believed to have been  one of the largest and most important in the United States.  Mr. Bramble wrote about the collection in his book published in 2017, A TEA CADDY COLLECTION.  A series of exhibitions drawn from the collection were shown to  critical acclaim, at a number of historic sites including  Homewood House Museum at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and at the Historic Odessa Foundation in Delaware. The Historical Society has on permanent display a majority of the collection and has culled it of duplicates which are the present lots being offered .

Bramble was best known for his career as a writer, and director for Broadway. He began his theatrical career working as an apprentice in David Merrick’s office in 1971, and for whom he worked on many Broadway productions.  As an author, his work includes the 1980 musical Barnum, with songs by Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart.  He wrote the book for The Three Musketeers (1984) with the music of Rudolph Friml. Bramble was the co-author with Michael Stewart of the book for the original smash hit musical 42nd Street in 1980, with songs by Harry Warren and Al Dubin  which was produced by David Merrick. He directed and was co-librettist for the 2001 revival of 42nd Street  and later directed many productions of 42nd Street, in London, Sydney, Shanghai, Tokyo, Amsterdam and Vienna. Bramble also collaborated with Michael Stewart on many shows, including The Grand Tour (1978) with songs by Jerry Herman, Pieces of Eight, a musical adaptation of Treasure Island with songs by Jule Styne, and the off Broadway opera Elizabeth & Essex based on Maxwell Anderson’s Elizabeth The Queen, and was an assistant on the 1974 musical Mack and Mabel.

Mark Bramble  was nominated for the Tony Award three times: the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Barnum (1980) and for 42nd Street (1981), and the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, 42nd Street (2001).    The 1981 production of 42nd Street won the Tony award for Best Musical and became a long running hit, and the 2001 production won the Tony Award for Best Revival.  The 1984 London production of 42nd Street won the Olivier Award for Best Musical. 42nd Street was again produced in London to rave reviews in in March of 2017 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Bramble lived at Gresham Hall outside Tolchester, Maryland, his boyhood home. He was also a deeply knowledgeable gardener and collector of rare and unusual specimen plants, he enjoyed his several acre gardens overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.   He kept many of the specimen plants in an expansive greenhouse filled with his prize orchid collection.  Orchids fascinated him as he propagated them along with an unusual collection of coleus topiary standards which he cultivated and formed.

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