As well as being a recognised expert in his chosen field, Eric Knowles is a well-known face in the world of antiques, particularly to viewers of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. He appears to be one of those rare individuals who is able to share his considerable knowledge in a way that is exciting and easy to understand. He was born in Nelson in 1953 and worked in both engineering and for a firm of antique shippers in the early 1970’s. His love of antiques, inherited from his parents, came to the fore in 1976, when he joined Bonham’s, the London auctioneers, working first as a porter in the ceramics’ department, before becoming head of the department in 1981.
Eric Knowles - a leading authority
In 1985, he was offered a full directorship at Bonham's. As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Eric Knowles has become a leading authority in the following fields: European and Oriental Ceramics from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century; the glass of Tiffany and Lalique; and Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Decorative Arts. Today he looks after museum liaison and several of his finds can now be seen in national museums. Since January 2009 Eric has since become independent of Bonhams and offers his own valuation service.
Whilst employed there he was responsible for museum liaison.
Eric is presently to be seen on BBC2’s most popular programme ‘Put your money where your mouth is’ and alongside Sandi Toksvig on ‘Antique Master’ searching for the UK’s top amateur antique expert. Other appearances include The Twentieth Century Roadshow, Crimewatch UK, Going For A Song, The Great Antiques Hunt and The Antique Inspectors. He was a contestant on Celebrity Mastermind Christmas Special in 2004 where he narrowly missed winning the trophy by 2 points!
He has also been involved with an historical renovation series for Discovery Home & Leisure called The House That Mackintosh Built, property series Period Property and Restoration Man.
As well as presenting and appearing on radio (including regular appearances on Radio 2) and TV, he has written books on subjects such as Victoriana, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Royal Memorabilia. But his real claim to fame and immortality is the Eric Knowles character jug produced by Royal Doulton pottery.
In 2005 he became the resident Sunday Times Antiques Expert, and he remains a frequent contributor to the BBC Homes and Antiques magazine and ARC online magazine and has written several articles for The Sunday Times newspaper.
Eric is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has lectured extensively in the UK at such renowned museums as the Victoria and Albert and the British Museum and he has also lectured in both the USA and Canada. He is also the guest lecturer at The University of Central Lancashire and Solent University, Southampton, and a patron of several charities and is called upon to present Duke of Edinburgh Awards at both St James' and Buckingham Palace.
Eric is also a long time ambassador for the Princes Trust.