The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Lord William Portman

Lord William Portman

A carte-de-visite portrait of William Henry Berkeley Portman (1829-1919), later 2nd Viscount Portman.

Born on 12 July 1829, Portman was the son of Edward Portman, 1st Viscount Portman and Lady Emma Lascelles, daughter of Henry Lascelles, 2nd Earl of Harewood.

He was elected to Parliament for Shaftesbury in 1852, a seat he held until 1857, and then represented Dorset from 1857 to 1885. In 1888 he succeeded his father and entered the House of Lords.

Lord Portman married Hon. Mary Selina Charlotte FitzWilliam, daughter of William Charles FitzWilliam, Viscount Milton. They had six sons and two daughters.

At the end of the nineteenth century the 99 year leases on the family properties in London came up for renewal, generating a colossal income for Lord Portman of some £100,000 a year. With this fortune he commissioned Norman Shaw to build a new mansion for him at the family seat in Bryanston, Dorset. Within 30 years, however, it had been sold to Bryanston School, which is still based there. This was because it rapidly became anachronistic and uneconomic even for an aristocratic family to occupy a house on such a scale, and the family was also crippled by death duties when the second Viscount's heir and his heir's heir died within ten years of him.

Photographed by Camille Silvy of London.


Code: 124626
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© Paul Frecker 2019