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The portrait shows Drake wearing enormously expensive blackened and gilded half-armour.

A facial wart that helped identify the oil, which is believed to date from the mid- 1570s, before Drake’s exploits against the Spanish Armada in 1588. The portrait had recently been on exhibition at Buckland Abbey, Drake’s former home and now a National Trust property in Devon.

Attractive subject

Stronger bidding emerged for a double portrait by Arthur Devis (1712-87) of James, 20th Earl of Kildare, and his wife Emily Mary. She pores over the plans for Carton House, the family seat in Kildare she helped design.


James, 20th Earl of Kildare and his wife Emily Mary in the grounds of Carton, by Arthur Devis – £185,000 at Bonhams.

The 2ft x 2ft 6in (63.5 x 77cm) oil on canvas was commissioned in 1739 and passed by descent to the dukes of Leinster.

The attractive subject matter together with its fresh-to-market status ensured it sold for £185,000 against a £80,000-100,000 estimate. In all, four paintings from the collection of the Duke of Leinster took a combined £360,000.