Sir Francis Drake portrait returns to explorer’s Devon home

A centuries-old painting of one of the country’s foremost explorers has left the National Portrait Gallery to take up temporary residence in its subject’s former home.

The Elizabethan-era portrait of Sir Francis Drake has made the journey south to Buckland Abbey near Yelverton in Devon, where the seafarer lived in the 16th century.

It is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s Coming Home project, which will see it lend 50 portraits to places across the UK with which they are most closely associated.

The painting of Sir Francis Drake – the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, and who had a vital role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada – will be on display at Buckland Abbey until September 22.

Alison Cooper, National Trust curator, said: “The painting was created shortly after Drake came home from his circumnavigation of the globe.

“In 1581 following his return, his life entirely changed. His voyage made him famous as well as fabulously wealthy. He was knighted by Elizabeth I, and was able to purchase Buckland Abbey – a country home that befitted his new found status.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for Buckland to be able to borrow this portrait and put it on public display outside of London.

“The fact that we are able to bring it back to Drake’s former home where it may have been during Drake’s lifetime, makes this prospect even more exciting.”