WANTED Roubiliac's missing terracotta of Hogarth's pug, Trump

Saturday 26 November 2011

Lars Tharp's "Woman's Hour" début

Familiar?  - if you watched Forbrydelsen
aka The Killing
And Talking about Jumpers....
Lars takes to the air (BBC Radio 4) on Wednesday 30th November 2011 (some time between 10am-10.45)...

Prepare to be spun some yarns  - who knows where this could go?  ...chaired by tricoteuse Jenni Murray.  What will she unravel?

Wednesday 9 November 2011

At home with Hogarth

Hogarth's House re-opens...

After a three-year restoration, William Hogarth's charming country retreat in Chiswick is once more open to the public (Tuesday-Sunday, noon-5pm).  The project was steered by Val Bott of The William Hogarth Trust ( http://williamhogarthtrust.org.uk/?page_id=16 ).  Chiswick resident, satirist and confessed Hogarth "nut", Dara O'Brian (above, right) officially opened the house on Monday 7th November, three days before Hogarth's 314th birthday.  Guests were treated to miniature mulberry pies made from the fruits of the very tree which has borne fruit in the garden since before the Hogarths moved in in 1749.

We also grabbed prime time with Nick Higham (right) featuring the house on the BBC flagship programme Today

For opening hours and details visit

for my 5-minute BBC tour of Hogarth's prints:

Happy Hogarthian Birthday

Just in time for William Hogarth's 314th birthday (10th November) Hogarth's House reopens after an eventful three-year restoration prolonged by a serious fire.  Jane and William Hogarth moved into their country cottage in sleepy Chiswick in 1749, William having established himself as the leading English painter of the day.  Today the house sits at an angle behind a long wall sheltering its oldest, still-living inhabitant, Hogarth's Mulberry Tree. 
The house was opened by local Chiswick satirist, Dara O'Briain adn may now be visited Tues-Sunday, noon-5pm


Listen to Nick Higham's BBC Today feature on

A Scandinavian Killing

The 2011 Scandinavian Show,
Earl's Court, London
Sunday 9th October

Hot-foot from their successes at the BAFTA and Golden Dagger awards, Lars Tharp interviewed Sofie Gråbøl (Sarah Lund) and Søren Malling (Meyer) from Forbrydelsen (The Killing).  Sofie revealed that the actors were all kept in the dark as to who the killer was until the very final scenes.  Series two comes to BBC4 in the next few weeks...

Friday 30 September 2011

My little film, Made in China...

for the  B B C  FOUR  
Handmade in Britain season*
Lars Tharp presents

     of Chinese Porcelain
Tuesday 11 October, 9-10pm, BBC FOUR

Filmed in China and England earlier in 2011, I follow the trail of Chinese porcelain manufacture:  from the sourcing of china clay and china stone in the mountains of Jiangxi; to its transformation into tablewares and art objects in the city of Jingdezhen;  its 500 mile-long route along rivers, over lakes and across a mountain, all by human porterage down to Canton (Guangzhou) from where  the next leg of the China trade to Europe - another 9000 miles by sea – began.
Accompanied on board ship by all the other goods of the China Trade (notably tea, silks, lacquer ware, fans, furniture and  wallpapers) these exotic luxuries, charged with sumptuous images of the Far East gave western consumers  -the growing merchant class as well as the established aristocracy-  their first glimpses into the Celestial Empire, and changed forever our domestic interiors   -as well as establishing that oh-so-English habit of Tea.  Come on the journey.

above LT with the late 16thC Chinese porcelain bowl whose story links Sir Francis Drake with Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh (courtesy of the Trustees of Burghley House, Lincs, 2011) / right  in Jingdezhen with a modern copy of a Qianlong period (1736-1795) vase which reached £43 million at auction in London in 2010

Director: Ian Denyer  Camera (China): Colin Fox /  BLAST! films for BBC FOUR

Handmade in Britain
In a major new partnership, the V&A and .B B C  FOUR  present Handmade in Britain, an ambitious year-long season exploring the history of British decorative arts. The season begins this autumn with a three-part series on British ceramics. From the history of domestic pottery to the heart of Britain’s ceramic empire in Stoke-on-Trent to the studio potters of the 20th and 21st centuries, Ceramics: A Fragile History reveals why, throughout the nation’s history, makers have created objects that are beautiful as well as functional. LT joins the "talking heads" in the series.
                            Treasures of Chinese Porcelain accompanies the series
For further information contact jenny.brown1@bbc.co.uk or 020 8576 2272;
or email me, lars@tharp.co.uk  

Monday 8 August 2011

There's Something about the 'Cello: a Proms Interval Talk
(11th Aug 2011)
Listen again (thru the internet) to the discussion on the link below (until 18th Aug)
For ceramics expert Lars Tharp it was a choice between studying the ‘cello or archaeology. To the benefit of Antiques Road Show viewers, and to the Eternal loss of the music audience, he chose archaeology

Ever since, he's been struck by how often people comment, 'I wish I'd played the ‘cello', with a yearning rarely displayed in connection with other instruments. Is it because its range and tone is closer to the human voice than any other instrument, or is it the heartstring-tugging repertoire that's grown up around it? Or is it something...."primal"?
Lars seeks the answer in the company of Julian Lloyd Webber who, immediately after the interval, will be playing a newly re-discovered piece for the ‘cello, Invocation, by Gustav Holst, followed by Elgar's universally-acclaimed Enigma Variations. And Graham Fitkin, whose newly composed ‘Cello Concerto for Yo-Yo Ma will be premiered in Prom 61 on 31 August, discusses the merits of the ‘cello and the problems it poses for the composer.

Friday 22 July 2011

Lars' current TV and Radio projects....

We're in the middle of making the Antiques Roadshow  our 34th season -and my own 25th year on the Show.
Over the years there have been several Antiques spin-offs.  One was my own China on a Plate for BBC Radio 4 (2007).   Following on, earlier in 2011, BBC 4 (TV) commissioned me to make a one-hour documentary on the historic China Trade, revisiting China to film much of the material covered in the earlier radio programme, but with a few extra twists.  My director is Ian Denyer, cameraman Colin Fox and our production company is Blast! Films of London. Expected transmission, sometime in September/October.

When dates are fixed I'll post details here.  Meanwhile...
...some images from our trip 

The 2011 Art Fund Prize goes to....

...The British Museum!
 - as announced on 15th June 2011 by Michael Portillo at the prize-giving evening at Tate Britain and on BBC Radio 4 Front Row - a winning project which places the Object centre-stage.  Congratulations to all at the BM and to all the teams working beyond its walls, not least those at the BBC who recognize that pictures in the mind are at least as potent as those we receive through the eye. Congratulations also to the other three shortlisted institutions (see earlier blog below) as well as all the museums and galleries who took part.  On accepting the £100,000 prize BM director, Neil MacGregor announced that the money would go towards other museums associated with the project beyond the BM.

This marks the end of my extended (second year) term on the Art Fund Panel  -last year under Kirsty Young, and this year under Michael Portillo.  A huge thank you to all fellow-panelists for stimulating discussions and excellent company. Congratulations also to The Art Fund, its members and generous sponsors.  Heaven knows how important the Fund continues to be in the promotion and protection of Britain's material and spiritual culture.

For the last few years Museums and Galleries have seen good times, not least thanks to grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Next year's Art Fund Panel (2012) will begin to discover how the Museums and Galleries sector responds to the onset of financial austerity.  A model project such as "100 Objects", with its scope for widespread adoption and development into ever growing areas of new digital media, will, I hope, inspire many institutions with simple and affordable ideas of how to promote their collections within and beyond their own walls.

Two days later (with an Antiques Roadshow at Hever Castle in between) I was off to China for the BBC...(see separate blog here in The Trumpet...)

Sunday 12 June 2011

Art Fund 2011

Art Fund Prize 2011
- announcement at Tate Britain

on Wednesday 15th June 

-and on Front Row, BBC Radio 4  the same evening.
The Four Finalists are:-
Roman Baths, Bath
British Museum (History of the World in 100 Objects)
Robert Burns' Birthplace, Alloway
Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge

For Charlotte Higgins' piece on being a judge, see Guardian (12/6/2011): -

Scott Polar, Cambridge

Roman Baths, Bath

Burns' Cottage

British Museum / 100 Objects

Friday 1 April 2011

Art Fund Panel goes to Wales

The panel arrives at the elegant, refurbished Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, North Wales

oriel = "gallery"

Micahel Portillo, Kathy Gee, LT and Charlotte Higgins

Judges' chairman Michael Portillo and Lars Tharp

Mostyn's new entry Hall

Wednesday 23 March 2011

ART FUND PRIZE 2011...contd
Our third group visit: The Robert Burns' Centre, Alloway
- into the cottage where RB was born and lived up to the age of seven

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Art Fund Prize 2011 continued...

Our second 2011 Art Fund Prize Group visit: 
to York Museum  - house of amazing treasures

- How the whole York museum team rolled up their sleeves, pulled down and replaced walls and ceilings, discovering windows which had been blocked for decades: "Letting in the Light"

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Art Fund Prize (2011) - The Visits begin...

The clock is ticking!  We've two months to visit ten long-listed museums and galleries throughout the UK before announcing our shortlist of four in May 2011, the winner to be decided in June.

This year (2011) our first panel visit with our chairman Michael Portillo was to Hertford Museum (Friday 18th Feb)  - a compelling little market town museum with dedicated volunteers and a wealth of local collections -including a fabled Bezoar Stone...We coincided with the WI market day and returned with various excellent produce including Lemon Drizzles and potted plants.

In the week the runners were announced I visited incognito*  the amazing, arabic-style Leighton House, the Kensington residence of the great Victorian painter and sculptor Alfred, Lord Leighton.

* If a judge cannot attend on the day of the official panel visit they will do so incognito at another time   -although last year hawk-eyed receptionists last year did manage to intercept and accompany me on my unannounced appearence.

A Rare Dish

A Rare Dish
LT discovers Ming dish, BBC, 2008

Two Trumps

Two Trumps
Messrs Bird & Fortune -awarded The Hogarth' Group's " Golden Trump" at Tate Britain, 2006