The late Henry Sandon was a fine singer as well as a ceramics expert.

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To the millions who tuned in every Sunday evening to watch Antiques Roadshow, Henry was like a favourite uncle, whose enthusiasm for even the humblest piece of chipped china was infectious. His joy when he discovered a rare Staffordshire pottery owl jug, nicknamed ‘Ozzie’, was a magic TV moment few will forget.

Born in London’s Soho in 1928, Henry’s father, Augusto, trained dogs for the silent cinema and this led to Henry’s brief film career, appearing in several films including as the child star of The Cockney Kid.

Evacuated during the war and after National Service, his family’s musical background and Henry’s fine bass voice took him to Worcester, in 1953, to teach music and sing in the cathedral choir.

From his hobby of archaeology and digging up Roman remains in his garden, Henry found his passion for ancient pottery.

He became curator of the Museum at the Royal Worcester factory where fine porcelain had been made since the 18th century. His research, including pioneering archaeology on the site of the original Worcester porcelain works, led to a series of standard books on the subject. His popular lectures, including several tours of the US, did much to encourage new collectors of porcelain old and new.

Friendship with Arthur Negus led to invitations to appear on TV, as a guest on Going for a Song and Arthur Negus Enjoys. Then in 1979 Henry joined Arthur as an expert on a new series of Antiques Roadshow, hosted back then by Angela Rippon. The format suited Henry’s personality, for he was never happier than when he shared with ordinary owners the stories behind their remarkable pots.

Henry was able to see the human side of a rare or academic piece of early porcelain, and by explaining how it was made, and by telling the stories of the potters who made it, he could bring any antique to life. Antiques Roadshow made Henry a celebrity on the lecture circuit, and he made guest appearances on all manner of TV and radio shows including Desert Island Discs, The Archers and The Green Green Grass. He was a surprise recipient of a big red This is your Life book, and an even bigger surprise was a ‘Gotcha’ from Noel Edmonds. Henry was particularly pleased when the BBC asked him to present several episodes of Songs of Praise, including a programme from Worcester.

Henry used his fame to spread the word about antiques, giving more than 2000 talks and personal appearances, mostly in support of charity. He was a friend and patron of many modern studio potters whose work he collected, and he was also a major ambassador for the ceramics industry, working tirelessly to bring much-needed encouragement and publicity to British porcelain manufacturers, as many struggled for survival.

For his efforts, Henry was honoured to receive from the queen an MBE for services to charity and to the ceramics industry. Meanwhile, in the city of Worcester, as a special tribute, the restored Georgian showroom at the old porcelain works was renamed Henry Sandon Hall.

Married to Barbara for 56 years (she died in 2013), they had three sons, David, Peter and John. Only one survives him, son John, who followed his father’s passion as an auctioneer and expert in porcelain.

John, who is still one of the experts on Antiques Roadshow, recalls that his dad always served real tea from a Worcester porcelain teapot. Henry once said: “Wouldn’t it be terrible to go to Heaven and find they drank from polystyrene cups.”

Henry is also survived by three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

From family