Lady Dorothy, a daughter of Horatio Walpole, 3rd earl of Oxford, grew up in Norfolk and London. She was fluent in several European languages and travelled widely. In 1847, she married Reginald Henry Nevill and the couple had 6 children. Lady Dorothy Nevill had a large circle of acquaintances, including Benjamin Disraeli, of whom she was a great admirer. She was a noted society hostess whose salon attracted authors, artists, statesmen, and journalists. She was a founding member of the ladies' branch of the Conservative political organization, the Primrose League. (The primrose was known as the favorite flower of Disraeli and was associated with him.) She is also famous for planning the extensive gardens at the family’s country estate of Dangstein in Sussex, and establishing exotic hot houses there. She exchanged letters and botanical specimens with Sir William Hooker and provided Charles Darwin with particular plants.