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Rare portrait of Sir Francis Drake top lot at Bonhams
Portrait of Sir Francis Drake sold for £356,750. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- A portrait of Sir Francis Drake sold for £356,750 at Bonhams Old Masters Sale in London yesterday (4 July). The extremely rare work was by an unknown artist from the Anglo-Dutch SchooI.

The portrait had recently been on exhibition at Buckland Abbey, Drake's former home and now a National Trust property. It is believed to be possibly one of the earliest known portraits of Drake which displays his early social ambition.

Bonhams Head of Old Masters, Andrew McKenzie, said: “Drake is a national hero. The story of his exploits is known not only in this country but all over the world and it was a privilege to offer a painting of such historical importance.”

Other highlights included:

• James, 20th Earl of Kildare and his wife Emily Mary in the grounds of Carton, by Arthur Devis, sold for £230,750 (estimate: £80,000-100,000. The painting shows the Earl and his wife seated in the garden of the new family seat at Carton House in Kildare, commissioned by his father in 1739. The Countess is portrayed holding plans for a bridge. It was one of five paintings from the collection of the Duke of Leinster that sold for a combined total of £449,500.

• An extensive bouquet of mixed spring and summer flowers from the Workshop of Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678). This unusually large and sumptuous oil on panel, estimated at £70,000-100,000, is one of three known versions and sold for £168,750.

• Portrait of Elizabeth Kerr, neé Fortescue, Marchioness of Lothian by Angelica Kauffmann which sold for £81,500 against an estimate of £15,000-20,000. Born in Switzerland, Kauffmann moved to London in 1766 where her portraits, poetical and mythological subjects were in great demand. She was a founding member of the Royal Academy.

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