Museum Patron and Worcester porcelain expert Henry Sandon died peacefully on Christmas morning, aged 95. Tributes have been flooding in from fans and media around the world in honour of his life, personality and passion for pots, Worcester and music. The Museum has opened a book of condolence for visitors where people are invited to share their recollections.
Henry’s family are inviting donations to support the Museum and its work, instead of flowers, in memory of his life. Please donate here.
Henry was Curator of the Museum for 16 years from 1967 to 1983 where he worked alongside many of Royal Worcester’s skilled artists and craftsmen whose pride in their work and exceptional traditional artistry made a huge impression on him. In his own inimitable way Henry immersed himself in factory life and became a world-renowned expert on the history and production of Worcester porcelain.
Over the years he secured for the Museum’s collection some of the most important historic examples of Worcester porcelain ever made including the Wigornia cream jug and the Sarah Siddons Plate. He furthered our understanding of the factory’s history, and the field of pottery and porcelain generally, through his many books which continue to be indispensable reference works today. These were based not only on his research into the Museum’s collection and archives but on his pioneering archaeological excavations – especially of the first Worcester porcelain factory site at Warmstry House.
He loved nothing better than to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for pots, and joined BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow in 1979 where his infectious laugh, charisma, and expertise made him one of their most popular presenters. Henry also lectured extensively and the Museum files are full of copies of the letters he wrote to people all over the world in reply to requests for advice and information about their piece of Worcester porcelain.
A national treasure, Henry will be fondly remembered by Museum staff, trustees, volunteers and visitors here in the midst of the collection he loved, added to, researched and shared with so many. His son John Sandon, also an authority on Worcester porcelain and a BBC Antiques Roadshow expert, continues as a Museum trustee and an advocate sharing Worcester’s porcelain stories and magnificent heritage.
You can hear some of Henry’s recollections below: