Fabergé from the Portland Collection
The Dukes of Portland descended from Hans Willem Bentinck (1649-1709), the teenage companion and closest adviser of William of Orange. Bentinck played a leading part in the planning of the military and political expedition that led to William being offered the English throne in 1688. In recognition of his friendship and support, Bentinck was created the 1st Earl of Portland, with considerable grants of land to follow. His eldest son Henry succeeded him as Earl and was created 1st Duke of Portland in 1716. Hans Willem Bentinck's grandson consolidated the family's status in England by his marriage to the heiress of the Cavendish and Holles Dukes of Newcastle, and the Harley Earls of Oxford.
Both the 6th and 7th Duchesses of Portland were closely associated with H. M. Queen Alexandra. Winifred Anna (1863-1954), the wife of William John Arthur James Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland, held the office of Mistress of the Robes to Alexandra from 1913 until the Queen's death in 1925. Ivy Gordon-Lennox (1887-1982), the wife of William Arthur Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 7th Duke of Portland, held the office of Maid-of-Honour to Queen Alexandra between 1912 and 1915.
It is believed that the Fabergé works from the Portland Collection (including lots 218, 232, 256 and 259 in the present auction) were acquired by Ivy Gordon-Lennox with the guidance of Queen Alexandra. It is notable that the Royal Collection contains a similar hardstone figure of an obsidian sea lion on a rock crystal base by Fabergé that was acquired by Queen Alexandra (RCIN 40364).
Ivy Gordon-Lennox married William Arthur Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 7th Duke of Portland on 12 August 1915. She was invested as a Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire (D.B.E.) in 1958.