About me

Danish-born Ceramics Historian and Broadcaster

Interested in all aspects of Man's use of Clay  
(talk: Beyond Earth  from Stone Age to Space Age, a Brief History of Clay)
Regular contributor to the Antiques Roadshow (since 1986 - 2020 and ongoing).
Own Antiques TV and radio series plus writer/presenter on several BBC TV documentaries in China, Scandinavia and England.

Lars Tharp Ltd 

An art consultancy, mainly focused on Ceramics
Talks and lectures worldwide, on Clay and Culture.  
Audiences range from educational institutions (i.e. universities, schools, etc) to other learned plus arts and heritage societies (including The Arts Society (accredited speaker), National Trust, The Royal Institution, The Harveyan Society, The Oriental Ceramic Society, The English Ceramics Circle), plus friends of various Museums and Galleries (e.g. the V&A, Ashmolean, Fitzwilliam) as well as, to Festivals, ConferencesSocial, Corporate and Business gatherings as well as private functions. 

Keynote, motivational and after-dinner / gueat speaker, drawing from 44 years in the world of Art.

Devizing and leading Cultural Tours for various travel companies (including Martin Randall Travel and ACE) with visits to visiting China, Scandinavia, Germany as well as London and other UK venues.

Three antipodean tours for the Arts Society, lecturing to all thirty-six Australian Societies plus all seven NZ societies. Inaugural lecturer of the newly formed Arts Society society in Penang, Malaysia, returning in 2018.

  • engaged in the auction world for over 44 years, joining Sothebys, becoming a director of the firm; 
  • Set up own consultancy in 1993 advising individuals, institutions and companies on the purchase, care and disposal of all artworks, especially Ceramics and Oriental Works of Art a speciality.   
  • Served on jury of the annual Art Fund Prize (2009 and 2010) 
  • As curator and museum director (Foundling Museum, London)
    Have created and/or  presided over several exhibitions including:    
         Hogarth’s China ( London1997 and Wedgwood 1999); 
         Celebrating Ceramics (2005-2006) (three exhibitions for York Museums Trust 
         Threads of Feeling (Foundling Museum, with guest curator John Styles)
  • Inaugural member of York Museums' Trust's Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA);
  • president of International Ceramics Festival, Aberystwyth (to date, 2021)

As a freelance broadcaster I work regularly with the BBC: from 1986 to 2018 on the Antiques Roadshow, plus dozens of TV and Radio programmes including my own series, Inside Antiques (BBC2), Hidden Treasures (chairman and writer, Radio 4), and on the Art of the Baroque (Radio 2), not to mention the occasional contribution to Woman's Hour  - on Scandinavian knitwear ; on Archive on Four with Men in Bow Ties.  In 2011 and 2013 I filmed two documentaries on the China Trade shown on the BBC and still syndicated throughout the world: Treasures of Chinese Porcelain and China in Six Easy Pieces.  I also filmed One Man and his Pug - a journey with William Hogarth and his pet dogs, in the hope of re-discovering the long-missing terracotta model by L-F Roubiliac.

Before two recent series of Griff Rys Jones's Quizeum I have appeared in several other entertainments including Call My Bluff and University Challenge (alumni) Christmas 2013 (in winning Caius College CAmbridge team)

Hogarth’s China (1997); the Little Brown Encyclopaedia of Antiques (with Paul Atterbury); Treasures in your Home (Reader’s Digest, with editor David Battie); and two books for the BBC under the Roadshow banner, one on How to spot a Fakes, the other on 20th Century Antiques.
contributor/ occasional columnist
 to newspapers and magazines

In brief

Born in 1954 in Copenhagen, educated in England. Influenced from an early age by my Danish grandfather, H C Broholm of Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen   I read archaeology ('Arch and Anth') at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge University (1973-76).  The Master of my college  was the legendary Joseph Needham, instigator of the multi-volume History of Chinese Science and Civilization (CUP). At Sothebys (1977-1993) specializingin Chinese Ceramics under the legendary Julian Thompson;  director and auctioneer and representing Sotheby's throughout its European offices.  

Honours and Elections

  • Freeman Weaver of the City of London, 2003 
  • Honorary Doctorate of Arts (HonDArt, DMU 2003) 
  • Elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA) in 2011
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters (HonDLitt, Leicester University 2016).
  • I serve on the Court of the Worshipful Company of Weavers, London's oldest recorded guild (fl.1130).
  • LATEST: Appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire (DL) (February 2021)