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.
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.
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.