Henry Portman, 2nd Viscount Portman

"An old Master"
Portman as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, November 1898

Henry Berkeley Portman, 2nd Viscount Portman GCVO (12 July 1829 16 October 1919, was a British Liberal Member of Parliament.


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

Political career

Portman was elected to Parliament for Shaftesbury in 1852, a seat he held until 1857,[1] and then represented Dorset from 1857 to 1885.[2] In 1888 he succeeded his father and entered the House of Lords.


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.


Lord Portman married Hon. Mary Selina Charlotte FitzWilliam (d. 4 January 1899), daughter of William Charles FitzWilliam, Viscount Milton (18 January 1812 - 8 November 1835), son of the 5th Earl Fitzwilliam, and Lady Selina Charlotte Jenkinson, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Liverpool, on 21 June 1855.[3] They had six sons and two daughters:

Two of his sons predeceased him and all four of the others succeeded to his title in the course of time, namely, Henry Berkeley Portman, 3rd Viscount Portman (died 1923), Claud Berkeley Portman, 4th Viscount Portman (died 1929), Seymour Berkeley Portman, 6th Viscount Portman (died 1946) and Gerald Berkeley Portman, 7th Viscount Portman (died 1948). Lord Portman's first wife died in 1899. In 1908 he married, secondly, shortly before his 79th birthday, Frances Maxwell Buchanan Cuninghame, by whom there were no further children. Lord Portman died in October 1919, aged 90, and was succeeded in his titles by his aforesaid eldest son, Henry Berkeley Portman.


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Member of Parliament for Shaftesbury
1852 1857
Succeeded by
George Glyn
Preceded by
Henry Ker Seymer
John Floyer
Henry Gerard Sturt
Member of Parliament for Dorset
1857 1885
With: Henry Ker Seymer 18571864
Henry Gerard Sturt 18571876
John Floyer 18641885
Edward Digby 18761885
Constituency divided
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Berkeley Portman
Viscount Portman
Succeeded by
Henry Berkeley Portman
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