Would It Surprise You To Know…?

Would It Surprise You To Know…?


Brought to you by Penguin.

For decades, Ronnie Archer-Morgan has brought to life the fascinating, often surprising backstories behind our most cherished heirlooms, antiques and household objects. Now, he tells his own unlikely story.

Born in the fifties to a Sierra Leoneon mother battling mental health problems, Ronnie spent his childhood in and out of care. After difficult beginnings, marked by abuse, racism and brushes with both criminals and the police, he got into music, managing to get DJ gigs and, later, as a celebrity hairdresser for Vidal Sassoon and Smile in the height of seventies London. A flair for spotting antiques led him to start his own Knightsbridge gallery, ultimately becoming one of the most respected figures in the industry, culminating in a regular spot as an expert on Antiques Roadshow.

Told with rich warmth, this is an extraordinary journey from deprivation and abuse to adventure and success against the odds - with stories of the incredible objects which shaped the way.

© Janet Gleeson 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022


  • Life as a pinball [. . .] all the time absorbing history and art and adventurous travel. A black man pursuing culture and pursued by prejudice, pinging against the glamour and the pitfalls of the antiques trade. A surprising story, like many of the objects he appraises on the Antiques Roadshow.
    Kate Adie, broadcaster and bestselling author

About the authors

Ronnie Archer-Morgan

Ronnie Archer-Morgan has worked in the antiques business for over 30 years. He learned the tricks of the antiques trade by exploring local shops and markets whilst working a variety of jobs including technical model maker, DJ, a boutique manager and celebrity hairdresser. This eventually led him to work as consultant to Sotheby's wristwatch department and to start his own renowned Knightsbridge gallery. Today, Ronnie is best known for his regular appearances on the TV favourite Antiques Roadshow where his exciting finds have included a Fijian war club, and he remains a fixture at London's flea markets and the prestigious Masterpiece Art Fair
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Janet Gleeson

Janet Gleeson is the author of works of fiction and nonfiction which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her books include The Arcanum, which was Radio 4 Book of the Week and a Sunday Times bestseller, The Money Maker, An Aristocratic Affair and The Lifeboat Baronet, as well as three historical crime novels. She has a BA Hons in English and Art History from Nottingham University and an MA from Birkbeck College, University of London. She worked at Sotheby's and Bonhams where she specialised in old master paintings before starting her writing career as a columnist for House & Garden and an editor for Reed Books. She lives in a medieval barn in Dorset.
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