Celebrate Ickworth's Lady Theodora

Lady Theodora will be the focus of a year of exhibitions and events exploring the role she played in shaping Ickworth.

Lady Theodora, the 4th Marchioness of Bristol, will be the focus of a year of exhibitions and events exploring the role she played in shaping Ickworth, the impact she made on the collection, the workings of the estate and the people who lived there.

Born in 1875, Theodora was a member of the second generation of a rich, entrepreneurial, middle class family, thanks to her paternal grandfather, George Wythes, who was a self-made millionaire railway contractor. When he died in 1883, his personal estate passed to his grandchildren and Theodora became a wealthy woman. Once she married Captain Frederick Hervey, a navy man, in 1896 she lived the country life at Ickworth and raised two daughters. 

In focusing on the influence of Theodora at Ickworth, the exhibitions will also reveal how she became known for taking a modern and progressive approaching to providing for Ickworth’s servants, and for how she took charge of modernising the grand home. 
The family moved into the East Wing in 1907following renovations which included adding 17 new modern bedrooms for the servants. Extensive work was also carried out in the Rotunda to create an impressively lavish setting for entertaining. 
A thoroughly modern woman, Theodora also installed electricity, new heating systems and an up to date kitchen in the basement of the East Wing. 

Throughout 2018, to mark the centenary of women gaining the right to vote, the National Trust is taking the opportunity to celebrate the women who helped shape and create many of the places it now cares for.

Chloe Woodrow, House and Collections Manager at Ickworth said: “Theodora was a fascinating woman and in many ways ahead of her time for how she approached modernising and managing Ickworth.

“As part of the National Trust’s focus on the roles and influence of women at our places this year we’re really looking forward to revealing more about the story of Theodora and how she adapted to life as a country Marchioness and took bold and dramatic decisions about the future of the house and estate.”

New exhibitions will be revealed in the house throughout the year; from looking at the conservation of textiles and how we care for and store our delicate pieces in the collection, to commemorative memorabilia and a display of Theodora’s recently restored coronation robes created for the coronation of King George V in 1911.  

Theodora is also remembered for her love of history of the Hervey family. She preserved and conserved the collection, tracking lost artefacts, restoring objects and compiling scrapbooks to record the details, of which will be on display for visitors to enjoy from July onwards.  

Her last action was offering Ickworth to the National Trust in 1956, meaning her legacy could be conserved for future generations.

Related posts

5 Historic Homes You Must Visit

Find out what it was like to live as an Earl, explore ‘Downton Abbey’ style...


​101 Things to Do in Bury St Edmunds and Beyond

101 ideas for your next trip to the Bury St Edmunds area - there's so...