Fine Interiors Sale Highlights

Fine Interiors Sale Highlights

The Treasured Collection of The Late Sir Clinton Charles Donald Cory

In our recent Fine Interiors auction held on 19 and 20 March, we presented a cherished assortment of antiquities once owned by the late Sir Clinton Charles Donald Cory. This highly esteemed collection of exquisite pottery items saw a 100% sell-through rate, with intense bidding in the room, online, and over the telephone.

5 April 2024



Among the highlights of Sworders’ Fine Interiors sale on 19-20 March was a collection of antiquities formed by the late Sir Clinton Charles Donald Cory (1937-2022), 5th Baronet of Coryton. A lifelong aesthete, traveller, gardener, and philanthropist, he lived in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. 

Sir Donald, as he preferred to be known, travelled extensively in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia and many furnishings in his home reflected this wanderlust. However, it was pottery from Classical Greece that held a particular fascination, and he revelled in meticulously cataloguing and archiving his collection, recording the time and place of each purchase and the whereabouts of other similar examples. His extensive holdings were sold in a total of 23 lots with every piece eagerly contested for a total close to £60,000 (including buyer’s premium). 



Leading the dispersal was a series of Attic red and black figure lekythoi (painted oil storage vessels) from the 5th century BC. Although often found in funerary settings, they are decorated with a wide range of images, both form daily life and mythology. The 20cm black-figure lekythos painted with a chariot scene in the manner of an artist known as the Haimon painter sold at £3800 while a similar vessel decorated with Athena by the workshop of ‘the Class of Athens 581’ took £3000. Both had been bought at London auctions in the 1980s: at Christie’s in May 1989 and at Phillips in December 1985.



Another key vessel from the classical period of Greek pottery is the wine jug or oinochoe. Sir Donald owned several examples made in 4th century Apulia including a 22cm red-figure trefoil jug attributed to the painter of the Macinagrossa Stand c.325-300 BC and a larger 30cm oinochoe painted with a female head wearing a patterned kekryphalos to her hair. With provenances to leading dealers (Agora Ancient Art, Vienna in July 1986 and BA Seaby, London in August 1993) they sold at £1700 and £1900 respectively. 

Also from the Magna Greece territories in southern Italy was a 17cm 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 in November 1996 from the London dealership Charles Ede. It hammered at £950.




Tuesday 19 & Wednesday 20 March | 01279 817778








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