Lectures and Events

With more than thirty years experience, John Sandon is a most accomplished speaker. Whatever the subject, his audiences are guaranteed to be thoroughly entertained.

John is able to discuss academic subjects with experts, but you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy an evening with John Sandon. From Luncheon Clubs to charity groups of all kinds, John combines his remarkable knowledge of antiques with amusing anecdotes about the Roadshow.

All of John’s illustrated talks use modern PowerPoint slideshow presentations featuring clear images in high-resolution.

To book John as a speaker, please send an email to john.sandon@bonhams.com or feel free to phone his direct line, 02074688244

A sample of subjects discussed in lectures by John Sandon

1. A Chip Off The Old Pot

John Sandon was just 5 years old when he learnt to love pots, helping his Dad dig up Roman jars in their back garden. Henry Sandon’s love of ceramics, and Worcester porcelain in particular, inspired John to follow his father into the business. John talks about his childhood memories working with the great craftsmen at the Royal Worcester factory, and shows off some of the wonderful discoveries he has made during 35 years as a leading London auctioneer

2. An Evening of Antique Porcelain with John Sandon

No slides this time, just the actual pots themselves. John tells the story of pottery and porcelain illustrated with a few amusing and precious pieces of his own. He then identifies and values pieces brought along by the audience. This very entertaining event is suitable for audiences of up to sixty, or else a sensible limit needs to be placed on the number of pieces that can be brought along and discussed.

3. Great Finds of the Antiques Roadshow

Re-live some memorable moments- Ozzy the pottery owl, a hoard of silver hidden under a bed, a lost masterpiece tucked behind a sofa, and fantastic delft ‘Merrymen’ plates kept in a biscuit tin… Included are highlights of the present series, with Fiona Bruce as presenter.

4. Porcelain for the Royal Table—a Potted Look at Royalty

Britain’s royal family commissioned some of the world’s most beautiful chinaware for use on state occasions. At the same time loyal subjects toasted their sovereigns with cheap and often tasteless commemorative mugs and teasets. Appropriate for the present Queen’s Jubilee year, this humorous talk includes priceless 17th century delftware, the chamber pot that amused Queen Victoria, Edward VIII’s coronation mugs and even our present queen as a teapot with a corgi as the spout!

5. Fabulous Fakes

Some of the World’s greatest museums (not to mention Antiques Roadshow experts!) have been fooled by the ingenuity of the forger. The most notorious fakers are revealed in this amusing talk, from the famous ‘Billys and Charleys’ that confused Victorian England, to clever copies of Bernard Leach vases made at pottery classes in a modern jail. Advice is also given on how to avoid the clever modern fakes we are offered at every antiques fair.

6. Harlequins, Shepherdesses and Crinoline Ladies

The story of china figurines, from delicate Dresden to the humorous Staffordshire ‘flatbacks’ on your mantelpiece. Roman terracotta, Chinese gods, the brilliance of Kändler and Bustelli, the Royal Worcester children by James Hadley and Freda Doughty, right through to the delights of Doulton and Lladro.

7. Teapots for Collectors

Nothing excites a potter more than the quest for the perfect teapot. John’s talk contrasts the best modern teapots with the earliest examples imported from China four centuries ago. Priceless Masterpieces from Meissen and Worcester are discussed as well as every conceivable novelty teapot. There’s even a two-sided teapot modelled on John Sandon and his father Henry—but will it pour properly?

8. Sunken and Buried Treasure

Shipwrecks are time capsules, while even in your back garden it’s amazing what you can dig up! Cargoes of Chinese porcelain, precious jewels or just old clay pipes. Included are everyday artefacts from the most famous shipwrecks of all- the Mary Rose and Titanic.

9. Redecorated Porcelain: Looking at the Evidence

Some of the most devious forgeries in European porcelain involve adding rare coloured grounds or changing existing decoration to increase desirability. This mostly affects old Sèvres and Worcester porcelain. John plays detective, looking for clues to work out when these crimes were perpetrated and to identify some of the chief suspects.

10. Worcester—A Very Different English Porcelain

This talk looks at some of the remarkable collections of Dr Wall period Worcester porcelain which John Sandon has been fortunate to sell over the years. In 1751, Dr Wall, a respected medical practitioner and amateur artist, gathered together a group of friends and founded England’s most successful porcelain factory. The early porcelain of Worcester is refreshingly different, and very popular with collectors.

11. Botanical Porcelain—‘a Curious Style from Nature’

China painters in the 18th century discovered that flowers make wonderful decoration. We look at porcelain painted with actual botanical specimens, from Meissen’s Deutsche Blumen to Copenhagen’s Flora Danica and the fabulous Derby painting by Quaker Pegg and William Billingsley. John’s talk will delight gardeners just as much as lovers of fine porcelain.

12. Regency Worcester Porcelain: A City of Rivals

Convinced that George IV was going to establish a National China Factory, Martin Barr of Worcester was determined to impress the King. Every production from Flight, Barr and Barr’s Worcester manufactory was finished with the very best gilding. The result was some of the most spectacular porcelain ever. Meanwhile, two other china-making families, the Chamberlains and Graingers, set up their own porcelain factories in the same city. At times the competition between the old rivals was intense.

13. In The Best Possible Taste: The influence of Meissen and Sèvres on early English Porcelain

In the middle of the 18th century customers grew tired of Chinese and Japanese patterns and demanded new European style porcelain. You couldn’t easily buy Meissen or Vincennes/Sèvres porcelain in England. This talk tells how Chelsea borrowed the latest Meissen from china collections in London and made exact copies, while Worcester preferred to adapt Continental designs in their own unique way. The work of James Giles’ china-decorating studio in London is also discussed.