Ivy Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland

Ivy Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland DBE (née Gordon-Lennox; 16 June 1887 – 3 March 1982) was Duchess of Portland from 1943 – 1977 and afterwards Dowager Duchess. She initiated the Harley Foundation, "to encourage creativity".

The Duchess of Portland

Ivy Gordon-Lennox by Philip de László.jpg
Ivy Gordon-Lennox by Philip de László, 1915
Ivy Gordon-Lennox

(1887-06-16)16 June 1887
London, England
Died3 March 1982(1982-03-03) (aged 94)
TitleDuchess of Portland
SpouseWilliam Cavendish-Bentinck, 7th Duke of Portland
ChildrenLady Anne Cavendish-Bentinck
Lady Victoria Parente
Parent(s)Lord Algernon Gordon-Lennox
Dame Blanche Gordon-Lennox, DBE

Family background and early yearsEdit

Ivy Gordon-Lennox was born in London[1] on 16 June 1887, the daughter of Colonel Lord Algernon Charles Gordon-Lennox (19 September 1847, London – 3 October 1921) and his wife, Lady Blanche (née Maynard; 14 February 1864, London – 17 August 1945), who were married at Easton on 31 August 1886. Ivy was their only child.[2]

Her father was the second of the four sons of the 6th Duke of Richmond (1818–1903), and his obituary in The Times called him "a notable social figure, whose popularity it would be difficult to over-estimate". He served in the Royal Navy, the Life Guards, and the Grenadier Guards, and was twelve years aide-de-camp to The Duke of Cambridge, Commander-in-chief of the British Army. His brothers, Ivy's uncles, included the 7th Duke of Richmond (1845–1928), Captain Lord Francis Gordon-Lennox, who died before she was born, and Lord Walter Gordon-Lennox (1865–1922), a Conservative Member of Parliament.[3]

Her mother was the younger daughter of Colonel the Hon. Charles Maynard, a son of the 3rd Viscount Maynard.[4] The older daughter was Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, and her other maternal aunts, the daughters of her grandmother's second marriage, were Millicent Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland, Sybil Fane, Countess of Westmorland, and Lady Angela Forbes.

Blanche, Lady Gordon-Lennox, Ivy's mother, was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1919; Ivy herself received the same honour in 1958.[3]

Ivy Gordon-Lennox's parents had a country house, Broughton Castle, near Banbury, which was rented from the 18th Lord Saye and Sele, and a house in London at 7 Chesterfield Street, Mayfair.[5]

Early adulthood and marriageEdit

In September 1910, Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox took firm action to quell a rumour that her daughter was engaged to marry Edward Turnour, 6th Earl Winterton. A notice to this purpose appeared in the New York Times, reading:

Ivy Gordon-Lennox Not Engaged. Special Cable to The New York Times. London, Sept. 24 [1910]. Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox contradicts the report current in London, and referred to in these dispatches last week, of the engagement of her daughter, Ivy, to Earl Winterton.[6]

Winterton married the Hon. Cecilia Monica Wilson in 1924, and died childless in 1962.[7]

On 1 January 1912, Ivy Gordon-Lennox was appointed a Maid of Honour to Queen Alexandra, the Queen Mother.[8] In 1915, during the First World War, she was Princess Victoria's representative in connection with proposed Nurses' Clubs in France, travelling to Étaples and Abbeville[9] (for context, see Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps).

On 12 August 1915, Ivy Gordon-Lennox married William Cavendish-Bentinck, Marquess of Titchfield (1893–1977), son of the 6th Duke of Portland and his wife Winifred Anna Dallas-Yorke. Three portraits of the bride were painted by Philip de László.[10]

Later lifeEdit

From 1922-43, Lady Titchfield was a political wife, her husband representing Newark in the House of Commons and serving as a Junior Lord of the Treasury under Stanley Baldwin and again under Ramsay MacDonald.

In 1943, Ivy Titchfield became Duchess of Portland when her father-in-law died and her husband inherited his father's titles.

In 1977, the Duchess set up the Harley Foundation intended "to encourage creativity in all of us". She intended it to help artists by providing affordable work-space in quiet surroundings, to support the survival of specialist craft skills in an age of mass production, and to improve public access to the visual arts. The Foundation was granted a long lease of some properties at Welbeck and it now maintains three sets of studios there, with space for up to thirty artists and craft-workers, plus a gallery and craft shop.[11][12]

The Duchess died at Welbeck Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire, on 3 March 1982, aged 94. She is buried at the traditional burial place of the Dukes of Portland in the churchyard of St Winifred's Church at Holbeck.[3]


The Duke and Duchess of Portland had two daughters, Lady Anne Cavendish-Bentinck, born on 6 September 1916; and Lady Victoria Margaret Cavendish-Bentinck, born on 9 October 1918.[3]

The first daughter remained unmarried throughout her life and was known as Lady Anne Bentinck.[3] In April 2008, at the age of ninety-one, she was reported in the Sunday Times Rich List to be the 511th richest person in the United Kingdom, with a fortune estimated at £158 million, largely in art and land.[13] She died on 21 December 2008.[3]

The second daughter, Lady Victoria, married the Italian Don Gaetano Parente, Principe di Castel Viscardo, on 12 April 1950. She had one son, William Henry Marcello Parente (b. 1951), and died on 29 August 1955, aged 36.[3] The Portlands' only grandchild, William Parente, of Welbeck Abbey, was appointed High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 2003.[14]



  1. ^ Profile, geni.com; accessed 7 June 2015.
  2. ^ Ivy Gordon-Lennox profile, NPG.org.uk; accessed 24 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Lundy, Darryl. "Hon. Ivy Gordon-Lennox". thepeerage.com. p. 962 § 9614. Retrieved 30 November 2016. cites Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. Vol. 3 (107th in 3 volumes ed.). Wilmington, Delaware: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books). p. 3336.
  4. ^ Death of Lord Algernon Gordon-Lennox - a popular social figure, The Times, 5 October 1921, page 13.
  5. ^ Ruvigny & Raineval, Marquis of, The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal: Clarence Volume p. 238 online at books.google.co.uk, accessed 24 July 2008
  6. ^ Ivy Gordon-Lennox Not Engaged, nytimes.com, 25 September 1910; accessed 24 July 2008.
  7. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Edward Turnour, 6th Earl Winterton profile". thepeerage.com. p. 2108 § 21075. Retrieved 24 March 2016. cites Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. Vol. 2 (107th in 3 volumes ed.). Wilmington, Delaware: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books). p. 2957.
  8. ^ "No. 28570". The London Gazette. 9 January 1912. p. 209.: "Marlborough House, 1st January, 1912. Queen Alexandra has been graciously pleased to appoint Miss Ivy Gordon-Lennox to be one of the Maids of Honour to Her Majesty in the room of the Honourable Blanche Lascelles, resigned."
  9. ^ War Diary: May 1915 from National Archives (ref. WO95/3988) at scarletfinders.co.uk, accessed 24 July 2008
  10. ^ Portrait of a Lady Archived 16 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine at jssgallery.org, accessed 24 July 2008, with information Christopher Wentworth-Stanley, European Editor, The Catalogue Raisonné of Works by Philip de László
  11. ^ About us - The Harley Foundation at harleygallery.co.uk, accessed 24 July 2008
  12. ^ The Harley Gallery, Welbeck Workshop, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 3LW at donowdo.com, accessed 24 July 2008
  13. ^ The Sunday Times (London), 27 April 2008, p. 61: "Bentinck, 91, who lives on a 17,000-acre (69 km2) Nottinghamshire estate, has land and property worth £58m. The daughter of the 7th Duke of Portland also owned impressive fine art treasures."
  14. ^ "No. 56884". The London Gazette. 21 March 2003. pp. 3603–3604.
  15. ^ Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003. Volume 3, page 3336