Geoffrey Munn is a jewellery specialist, historian and writer, best known as a television presenter on the BBC Antiques Roadshow. His first and only permanent position has been with the court jewellers Wartski which he joined at 19. It is from this old established firm that his expertise in art and antiques is derived and his foremost specialty is nineteenth century jewellery and especially the work of the famous Russian goldsmith Carl Fabergé. Geoffrey has written a history of his hometown called “Southwold-An Earthly Paradise” and through his researches for this book he was able to expand on the history of JMW Turner, Edward Lear and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He has also written for The Times on Victorian funerary sculpture when he reattributed an anonymous tomb to the famous painter Edward Burne Jones.
Brought up in the country Geoffrey maintains his enthusiasm for the natural world. His first television experience was in 1963 when he and his brother Roger featured with their pet fox cubs in an episode of Animal Magic with Johnnie Morris. Geoffrey is a keen conservationist and still fascinated by horticulture and the influence of plant forms on the decorative arts. In July 2015 he conducted the first in a series called Tate Britain BP Walks Through British Art in which there was an emphasis on jewellery and botanical decoration from the Renaissance to the present day.
In 1989 Geoffrey joined the team of specialists on the BBC Antiques Roadshow where he has been a regular contributor ever since. Some of his most notable discoveries include a Saxon gold ring found in the roots of a hedge and a silver brooch, thought to be worthless costume jewellery, which Geoffrey identified as a long-lost treasure by the famous gothic architect William Burges. This he valued at £10,000 but it went on to sell at auction for more than £40,000. At the Black Country Museum in 2017 Geoffrey discovered a study of pear blossom by Carl Fabergé in enameled gold set with diamonds that he valued at £1,000,000. This was one of only two or three similar discoveries in the entire history of the show. It was Geoffrey’s association with the Antiques Roadshow that led the celebrated film director Stephen Poliakoff to invite him to play himself in his award winning BBC drama Joe’s Palace in 2007.
Geoffrey is an enthusiastic patron of several charities for which he has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds. In 2009, aged 57, he ran the London Marathon and raised more than £80,000 for the Samaritans alone. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE for services to charity and in the New Years Honours of 2018 the Queen appointed him MVO.
Although he left Wartski in 2018 Geoffrey is still writing on jewellery and decorative arts and is a contributor to the specialist press and the Art Newspaper. Geoffrey Munn is a keen mudlarker on the banks of the Thames where his discoveries include 17th century Chinese porcelain, clay pies, and a terracotta wig curler. When in Suffolk he scours the ploughed fields after rain for Neolithic flints tools and has formed a small collection of them.
Geoffrey is a regular speaker on art and antiques and his television career has recently expanded to include magazine style programmes including the BBC One Show.