Attic black figure lekythoi painted with a chariot scene, £3800 at Sworders.

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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 south-east Asia and many furnishings in his home reflected this wanderlust.

Meticulous cataloguing

However, it was pottery from Classical Greece that held a particular fascination, and he revelled in meticulously cataloguing his collection, recording the time and place of each purchase and the whereabouts of similar examples. His extensive holdings were sold in a total of 23 lots with every piece getting away for a total close to £60,000 (including buyer’s premium) at the March 19-20 sale.

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 from daily life and mythology.

The 8in (20cm) black-figure lekythos painted with a chariot scene in the manner of the 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.


Apulian oinochoe painted with a female head, £1900 at Sworders.

Another key vessel from this period of Greek pottery is the wine jug or oinochoe.

Sir Donald owned several examples made in 4th century BC Apulia including a 9in (22cm) red-figure trefoil jug attributed to the painter of the Macinagrossa Stand c.325-300BC and a larger 12in (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.


Terracotta roofing antefix modelled as the head of Pan, £950 at Sworders.

Also from the Magna Greece territories in southern Italy was a 7in (17cm) terracotta roofing antefix depicting the horned head of the goat god Pan.

Probably 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.