UK

Antiques Roadshow porcelain expert Henry Sandon dies aged 95

Sandon was a resident expert on porcelain and pottery on the BBC series, first joining the show in 1979.

Henry Sandon died peacefully at the age of 95
Henry Sandon Henry Sandon died peacefully at the age of 95 (Steve Parsons/PA)

Former Antiques Roadshow expert Henry Sandon has died on Christmas Day at the age of 95.

Sandon, who was the resident expert on porcelain and pottery on the BBC series, died “peacefully” on Monday, according to his family.

His son, John Sandon, also became a porcelain expert on Antiques Roadshow.

In a statement to the PA news agency, John Sandon said: “My dad died peacefully on Christmas morning. Simply old age, as he was 95, and he’s left the world of antiques with an incredible legacy.

“On the Antiques Roadshow chatting to the owner of the most humble cracked teapot, his enthusiasm and his infectious laugh and smile brought their treasured pot to life.

“Dad taught me to see the human side of a piece of pottery, and I could have asked for no greater gift.”

Henry Sandon was known for his knowledge of Worcester porcelain and was a curator of the Dyson Perrins Museum, which became the Worcester Porcelain Museum and then the Museum of Royal Worcester.

He also was a patron of the museum.

The museum wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday: “It is with great sadness we share the news that Henry Sandon passed away on Christmas morning.

“Our curator and then patron of the Museum for many years, a much-loved expert who shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for pots and Worcester in person, in books & on tv. Sorely missed.”

Catherine Catton, BBC senior head of commissioning, factual entertainment and events, said: “We are very saddened to learn of Henry’s passing.

“He was a much loved member of the original Antiques Roadshow team and brought joy and expertise to viewers both here in the UK and also the many other countries where the show is broadcast.

“We’d like to extend our deepest condolences to Henry’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

Marc Allum, a specialist on Antiques Roadshow, also paid tribute and said on X: “So sad to hear of the passing of one of the giants of antiques – dear Henry Sandon.

“His jollity and incredible knowledge made him a joy to work with. A legend!

“Sincere condolences to his family and many friends.

Henry Sandon was born in London in 1928 and attended the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, between 1939 and 1944, when he was evacuated to Buckinghamshire during the Second World War.

With a passion for music, he won a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and went on to teach music at the Royal Grammar School in Worcester, also singing in the city’s cathedral choir.

Antiques expert John Sandon, right, with the 17th century slipware cup he valued on Antiques Roadshow
Antique expert John Sandon, right, with the 17th century slipware cup he valued on Antiques Roadshow Antiques expert John Sandon, right, with the 17th century slipware cup he valued on Antiques Roadshow (PA)

On the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs in 2001, the pottery expert told host Sue Lawley that his father trained dogs for the cinema when he was a child and said: “I lived all my life in the cinema, hardly ever went to school.”

In the 1990s Sandon, who first joined Antiques Roadshow in 1979, memorably found Ozzie the Owl during an episode.

The slipware owl was brought along to the roadshow in Northampton, where Sandon gave it a valuation of £20,000.

On his 80th birthday he was presented with a cake in the shape of Ozzie the Owl.

John Sandon also discovered a rare 17th-century slipware cup during an episode in 2004 which had been bought for £500. He gave it an estimated value of £50,000.

Henry Sandon became an MBE for services to broadcasting, the ceramics industry and charity in 2008.