Ralph Partridge

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Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873–1938), vintage snapshot print/NPG Ax141540. Dora Carrington; Ralph Partridge; Lytton Strachey; Oliver Strachey; Frances Catherine Partridge (née Marshall), 1923

Reginald Sherring Partridge (1894 – 30 November 1960), generally known as Ralph Partridge, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, worked for Leonard Woolf and Virginia Woolf, married first Dora Carrington and then Frances Marshall, and was the unrequited love of Lytton Strachey.


He was born in 1894, the son of Reginald Partridge, of the Indian Civil Service.[1]

He attended Christ Church, Oxford.[1] He enlisted during World War I and won a Military Cross and bar.[1]

Partridge was an Oxford friend of Dora Carrington's younger brother Noel. They met in 1918. Partridge fell in love with Carrington and eventually, in 1921, Carrington agreed to marry him[2] even if she was in love with Lytton Strachey. Strachey was himself more interested in Partridge.[3] An added complication was Dora Carrington's intermittent affair with one of Partridge's best friends, Gerald Brenan. Carrington, Partridge, and Strachey shared a Wiltshire farm-house, Ham Spray, in a complex triangular relationship later recorded in the 1995 film Carrington. Though Strachey spoke openly about his homosexuality with his Bloomsbury friends, and had relationships with a variety of men including Partridge, details of Strachey's sexuality were not widely known until the publication of a biography by Michael Holroyd in the late 1960s.[4]

Dora Carrington, Ralph Partridge and Lytton Stratchey
Dora Carrington, Ralph Partridge and Lytton Strachey

In 1926, Partridge left Carrington to live with Frances Marshall, whom he had met while she was working at the London bookshop owned by David Garnett and Francis Birrell; at that time Partridge was working for Leonard Woolf and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press.[1] Meanwhile, Carrington had an affair with Bernard ‘Beakus’ Penrose, who was a friend of Partridge. After Carrington committed suicide in 1932, shortly after Lytton Strachey's death, Ralph and Frances married in 1933. The couple had one son, (Lytton) Burgo Partridge (1935–1963).[5] They lived in London during the week and repaired to Ham Spray at weekends. They lived happily at Ham Spray until Ralph's death in 1960.[4]

In popular culture[edit]



Steven Waddington as Ralph Partridge alongside Jonathan Pryce as Lytton Strachey' and Emma Thompson as Dora Carrington in the film Carrington


  1. ^ a b c d "Ralph Partridge". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Lytton Strachey: The New Biography" by Michael Holroyd, 1994, p.485
  3. ^ Frances Partridge, Bloomsbury groupie – Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved on 23 December 2007
  4. ^ a b Holroyd, Michael, Lytton Strachey: A Critical Biography, 447.
  5. ^ "Bloomsbury laid bare: Frances Partridge reveals the truth about her". The Independent. 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  6. ^ Nicolson, Nigel (2004-02-09). "Obituary: Frances Partridge". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  7. ^ Elley, Derek (1995-05-22). "Carrington". Variety. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  8. ^ Willis, John (2004-02-01). Screen World 2003. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9781557835284.