Tuesday, 16 June 2009
A legendary Dealer
I was lucky to meet Bryony Thomasson early in my time as a French junk and brocante dealer.
She was a highly intelligent, well educated lady who left a business career as recruiting officer in the electrical industry, to become the best known dealer in artefacts, folk art and rustic items from La France Profonde. She was used by many major film wardrobe directors during the time of Fleurette and other productions showing the true poverty and tragic stories of the paysans. She lived in a small terrace house in Fulham and her living area was an incredible showcase of everything that she collected and loved from the farms and small workshops in France.There was a cascade of string and ropes, nets for chickens, rabbits, hammocks for sick horses, halters, girth webbing, whips and blinkers - piles of the roughest sheets, sacks, seed bags and curls of horsehair for filling mattresses, hanks of coarse thread for weavers, as well as her own special collections, (not for sale )- tiny buttons from uniforms, silk and cotton foulards (neckerchiefs worn inside the shirt collar) and then the rows of all the old clothes, especially men's which are always so hard to find; berets, les bleues working trousers, jackets and her beloved smocks in polished cotton worn by the maraicheurs (small market garden dealers)to go to market and to wear at Mass and also the quarterly hiring fairs. She was so generous with her experience and deep knowledge and much loved and respected by her French suppliers. She drove a tall red van with a stove, some bedding and a bicycle at the ready. She was first at every fair on her bike wheeling down the aisles and there would be piles awaiting her arrival. Her collections of vintage clothing inspired several top couturiers and her strong language and stories of intrepid travels endeared her to many. Her constant companion was the maraicheur Jean- seen above.