World-renowned Worthing antiques expert dies

Geoffrey Godden inspecting at item at an antiques valuation day at Broadwater Manor School
Geoffrey Godden inspecting at item at an antiques valuation day at Broadwater Manor School
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Celebrated ceramics expert Geoffrey Godden is being mourned by the antiques world after news broke that he died on Tuesday.

Once part of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow team, Mr Godden started in his father’s antiques business in Worthing and built up an international reputation among ceramics collectors while remaining based in the town.

Rupert Toovey, from Toovey’s auctioneers in Washington, said: “For more than 50 years, he made an outstanding contribution to our understanding of this specialist field.”

Mr Godden published more than 30 reference books, having been told by his father ‘if you want to know about something write a book about it’.

He was first encouraged to write by Hugh Wakefield at the V&A Museum in the early 1960s. His Encyclopaedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks was first published in 1964 and remains in print today. It is still the most comprehensive volume of its type.

Mr Godden started by collecting Lowestoft, because it was available and inexpensive. He liked its homely quality to English blue and white.

As well as Antiques Roadshow, Mr Godden appeared in Going for a Song with Arthur Negus. He also held lectures and seminars and would display the reference collection on open shelves so people attending could handle the items.

Mr Toovey added: “Geoffrey always had an ability to communicate his passion and understanding of his subject to others.”

Keele University honoured Mr Godden with a doctorate in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the understanding and appreciation of ceramic art.

Mr Godden was a past president of The Caughley Society, which was formed in 1999 to educate the public about Caughley porcelains.

Roger Thornhill, society secretary, said: “Geoffrey Godden was highly respected in the antiques world and will be sadly missed.”

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