A collection of ancient antiquities belonging to a Letchworth resident has sold at auction for almost £60,000.

Sir Clinton Charles Donald Cory, 5th Baronet of Coryton, amassed a precious collection of objects from Ancient Greece, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia during his life.

Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers have now auctioned off Sir Donald's holdings, after he died in 2022.

A lifelong aesthete, traveller, gardener and philanthropist, he travelled extensively with his home furnishings reflecting this wanderlust.

In total, 23 lots were sold. Among the highlights were a series of Attic red and black figure lekythoi (painted oil storage vessels) from the 5th century BC. Often found in funerary settings, they are decorated with a wide range of images, both from daily life and mythology.

The Comet: This Attic red and black figure lekythos from the 5th century BC sold for £3,800.This Attic red and black figure lekythos from the 5th century BC sold for £3,800. (Image: Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers)

One lekythos, depicting a chariot scene in the manner of an artist known as the Haimon painter, sold for £3,800. Another, decorated with Athena by the workshop of 'The Class of Athens 581' fetched £3,000. Both had been bought by Sir Donald at London auctions in the 1980s.


Other important items from Sir Donald's collection included several examples of wine jugs, or oinochoe, from the classical period of Greek pottery.

Made in 4th century Apulia, these included a trefoil jug attributed to the painter of the Macinagrossa Stand c.325-300 BC, and a larger oinochoe painted with a female head wearing a patterned kekryphalos to her hair. They sold for £1,700 and £1,900 respectivey.

Also sold, from the Magna Greece territories in southern Italy, was a terracotta roofing antefix depicting the horned head of the goat god Pan.

Likely from the roof frieze of a grand 4th century BC building in Taras (modern-day Taranto), it had been acquired by Sir Donald in 1996 and sold for £950.