The price was an auction record for a work on paper by the artist, outscoring the premium-inclusive $104,500 (£65,362) for Study for The Daphnephoria sold at Sotheby's in New York in November 2012.
The sketch was found hanging discreetly on a bedroom wall in West Horsley Place in Surrey, the home of the late Mary Innes-Ker, Duchess of Roxburghe. It was consigned to auction by her heir and nephew, the broadcaster Bamber Gascoigne, and was estimated at £40,000-60,000.
The 8¾ by 8in (22 x 20cm) pencil and white chalk drawing was the only known head study for Flaming June, a famous 19th century painting which became known as 'The Mona Lisa of the Southern Hemisphere'. Various museums possess studies for the draperies, nude figure and overall composition for Flaming June, but this head study was unique.
Catarina Draws Interest
The sale also featured Leighton's oil painting Catarina, which was knocked down to an UK private collector for £190,000 against an estimate of £100,000-150,000.
A depiction of a young Italian girl with jasmine flowers in her hair, it was painted in 1879, the year following the artist's election as President of the Royal Academy.
Purchased privately in the UK in the 1930s, it remained in the same family ever since before being consigned to Sotheby's.