Bernard Partridge

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Bernard Partridge's signature, 1916
Caricature of Hall Caine signed JBP in Vanity Fair, 1896.

Sir John Bernard Partridge (11 October 1861– 9 August 1945)[1] was an English illustrator. Born in London, he was the son of Professor Richard Partridge, F.R.S., president of the Royal College of Surgeons,[2] and nephew of John Partridge, portrait-painter extraordinary to Queen Victoria.[2] For some years he was well known as an actor under the name of Bernard Gould.[3][4]

The 1904 cartoon on the Entente Cordiale by John Bernard Partridge; John Bull stalks off with a defiant Marianne and turns his back on the Kaiser, who pretends not to care.


Partridge was educated at Stonyhurst College where one of his fellow pupils was Arthur Conan Doyle.[5]

Life and work[edit]

Partridge then worked for six months in the offices of architect H. Handsom, before joining the firm of Lavers, Barraud and Westlake, ecclesiastical designers, where he spent two years producing altar-pieces, stained-glass etc.[5] He then studied decorative painting under Philip Westlake, 1880–1884. He began illustration for the press and practised watercolour painting, but his chief success was derived from book illustration.

Partridge was very interested in the theatre and acted under the stage name Bernard Gould.[3] He appeared in the first production of George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man. Many of his early drawings were of stage subjects or personalities, and some of his finest caricatures in later life were drawn from the world of the stage.[6]

In 1891 Partridge joined the staff of Punch [7] and, in 1909, became its chief cartoonist, replacing Edward Linley Sambourne.[8] During his time at Punch, Partridge published several cartoons supporting the Suffragist movement. He was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and of The Pastel Society.

Partridge was a frequent exhibitor,[note 1] exhibiting nearly 200 works in total.

World War I Works[edit]

In 1915 Partridge designed posters to encourage recruitment to the British Army. Take up the Sword of Justice was one of the most popular, printed by David Allen & Sons, for the British Parliamentary Recruiting Committee (PRC).[10] It features the sinking RMS Lusitania, drowning passengers, and a vengeful Lady Justice.[11] State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, is just one of the many libraries and museums around the world which hold copies of this poster.[12]

Another work from this time that was well known to the populous was Unconquerable. It features Wilhelm II, German Emperor, and Albert I, the King of the Belgians. The cartoon was published by Punch in October 1914. This original was presented to the Queen of the Belgians by the Gardeners' Company, the purchase money going to the Belgian Relief Fund.[13] In 1917 copies of the poster, styled "the Greatest War Picture ...... in magnificent colour reproduction", which Partridge based on his original cartoon were sent by Punch to new subscribers as part of a promotion.[14][15] In 1919 Punch sent complimentary copies of this poster to Schools of Art across Australia, many of which were framed and placed in their reading rooms.[16][17]

At this time he also designed postcards for Blue Cross Quarantine Kennels, for soldiers bringing home their pet dogs.[4]

Partridge was the twentieth of twenty illustrators selected by Percy V. Bradshaw for inclusion in his series The Art of the Illustrator (1917-1918) which presented a separate portfolio for each illustrator.[18][note 2]

Knight Bachelor[edit]

Partridge was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 1925 Birthday Honours on the advice of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and gave his support to the government during the General Strike.


  1. ^ Partridge exhibited as follows: 112 works at the Fine Art Society, three works at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 12 works at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 44 works at the Leicester Galleries, two works at the New English Art Club, 18 works at the Royal Academy, and three works at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.[9]
  2. ^ The portfolio contained: a brief biography of Partridge, an illustration of Partridge at work in his studio, an explanation of Partridge's method of working. This was accompanied by a plate showing an illustration typical of his work and five other plates showing the work at five earlier stages of its production, from the first rough to the just before the finished drawing or colour sketch.[19] Partridge's pen and ink drawing shows what appears to be a German cavalry man with a ragged, blindfolded woman riding pillion on a mountain road. It was reproduced by permission of Punch and was probably a political reference to the First World War. The extraneous sketches in the preparatory work suggest that this was from his sketch-book, rather than being specially prepared.[20]


  1. ^ "Obituary: Sir Bernard Partridge". The Times. p.6 col.5. 11 August 1945.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ a b A. & C. Black Ltd. (1967). Who Was Who: Volume IV 1941-1950: A Companion to Who's Who Containing the Biographies of Those Who Died During the Period 1941-1950. Vol. 4 1941-1950 (4th ed.). London: Adam and Charles Black. p. 889. Retrieved 12 August 2020 – via The Internet Archive.
  3. ^ a b Room, Adrian (2004). Dictionary of Pseudonyms (4th ed.). Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 204. ISBN 0-7864-1658-0. Retrieved 12 August 2020 – via The Internet Archive.
  4. ^ a b "Bernard Partridge - British Cartoon Archive - University of Kent". Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  5. ^ a b Bryant, Mark (2018). "Partridge, Sir John Bernard". The Dictionary of 20th-century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists. London: Routledge. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-315-20279-2.
  6. ^ Houfe, Simon (1981). Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, 1800-1914 (Rev. ed.). Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club. p. 409. Retrieved 22 August 2020 – via The Internet Archive.
  7. ^ "PARTRIDGE, Bernard". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 1362.
  8. ^ "Collections Online | British Museum". Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  9. ^ Johnson, J.; Greutzner, A. (8 June 1905). The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club. p. 391.
  10. ^ Taylor, James (2013). "2. Weapons of Mass Persuasion". Your country needs you : the secret history of the ultimate propaganda poster (ebook ed.). Glasgow: Saraband. ISBN 9781908643117.
  11. ^ "Take Up the Sword of Justice". Imperial War Museums. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  12. ^ "State Library Victoria - Viewer". State Library Victoria. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  13. ^ "LITERARY NOTES". The Australasian. Vol. XCVIII, no. 2, 555. Victoria, Australia. 20 March 1915. p. 44. Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ ""UNCONQUERABLE."". The Advertiser. Vol. LX, no. 18, 409. South Australia. 13 October 1917. p. 9. Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  15. ^ "Advertising". The Advertiser. Vol. LX, no. 18, 409. South Australia. 13 October 1917. p. 13. Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ "IPSWICH SCHOOL OF ARTS". Queensland Times. Vol. LX, no. 10, 332. Queensland, Australia. 7 April 1919. p. 4 (DAILY.). Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ "IPSWICH SCHOOL OF ARTS". Queensland Times. Vol. LX, no. 10, 354. Queensland, Australia. 5 May 1919. p. 6 (DAILY.). Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  18. ^ Bradshaw, Percy V. (Percy Venner) (1900), Bernard Partridge and his work, Press Art School, retrieved 24 June 2022
  19. ^ "The Connisseur Bookself". The Connoisseur: An Illustrated Magazine for Collectors. 51 (204): 223. 1 August 1918. Retrieved 12 August 2020 – via The Internet Archive.
  20. ^ "Bernard Partridge: Bernard Partridge and His Work: The Art of the Illustrator (Limited Edition Prints)". Illustration Art Gallery with The Book Palace. Retrieved 22 August 2020.

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