BBC Roadshow expert Lars Tharp to hold valuation days

Lars Tharp, one of the best-known specialists from the BBC Antiques Roadshow, will host a series of valuation days for the public in March on behalf of Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers. 

To book an appointment, please contact Sworders on 01279 817778 or 

Monday 13 March: York Grand Hotel & Spa from 10am to 4pm.

Tuesday 14 March: Leeds City Museum from 10am to 4pm.

Lars Tharp

Lars, who has also appeared on many other TV and radio shows, has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as a curator and museum director, author, consultant, broker, public speaker and even as a judge on the jury for the Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries. He also devises and hosts cultural tours for travel companies.

But it is his work as a leading expert on ceramics and Oriental art that has led to him being one of the longest-serving and most respected of the Roadshow specialists, and he will bring that expertise to this series of valuation days.

Lars’s most memorable discovery occurred some years ago while working at Sotheby’s.

“We were conducting a valuation day in Hartley Wintney. It was very busy and as I worked my way through the visitors, I saw a lady in the queue clutching a little blue and white bowl under her arm. When it was her turn, I ummed and aahhed, before letting her know that it was late Ming and marked for the Emperor Wanli, whose palace it would have originally come from.

“When I told her it was worth around £6000-9000 – this was in the mid 1980s – she felt faint and had to be revived with a cup of tea. It turned out her dog had been using it as its food bowl for years.”

At the time, such discoveries were very rare indeed, to the extent that the celebrated cartoonist Mark Boxer used the story for one of his cartoons and one national newspaper even brought a dog along to be photographed with the bowl when it was subsequently sold at Sotheby’s.

“The headline was Chow Ming,” Lars recalls. “If the lady had come in today she really would have to sit down and have two cups of tea, because the price would have been at least £60,000.”

Lars is hoping to see just such treasures as he assesses Chinese and Japanese works of art, as well as British and European ceramics, at this series of valuation days and is offering free valuations on items readers are considering selling at auction. 

The first chance to consult him comes at Sworders’ Stansted Mountfitchet saleroom from 10am to 4pm.

The following day, March 3, Lars will offer his valuation expertise at Sworders’ Hertford office at 42 St Andrew Street on March 2, from 10am to 4pm.

Then he moves north for a day at the York Grand Hotel & Spa on March 13, followed by a March 14 date at Leeds City Museum, also from 10am to 4pm.

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