Partridge, John (1790-1872) (DNB00)

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PARTRIDGE, JOHN (1790–1872), portrait-painter, son of Samuel Partridge, and brother of Richard Partridge [q. v.] the surgeon, was born at Glasgow on 28 Feb. 1790. About 1814 he became a pupil of Thomas Phillips, R.A., and in 1815 exhibited at the Royal Academy a portrait of Miss Foote in the character of Lucilla. About 1823 he went to France, and thence to Italy, and did not return till 1827, when he settled in London, and soon became one of the fashionable portrait-painters of the day. In 1840 he painted portraits of the queen and of Prince Albert, which were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1841, and were engraved in line respectively by John Henry Robinson, R.A., and George Thomas Doo, R.A. These works were very successful, and in 1842 Partridge was appointed ‘Portrait-painter Extraordinary to Her Majesty.’ In the same year he exhibited two other portraits of the queen and Prince Albert, of inferior merit to his earlier paintings. In 1846 he sent to the Academy portraits of Lord and Lady Beauvale, afterwards Viscount and Viscountess Melbourne, which were hung so badly that he ceased to exhibit there, and in 1864 published a pamphlet ‘On the Constitution and Management of the Royal Academy,’ in which he made grave charges.

Besides portraits, he contributed only two subject-pictures to the academy exhibitions, ‘Titania, Puck, and Bottom,’ in 1830, and ‘A Sketch of a Sketching Society: the Critical Moment,’ in 1836. He exhibited also at the British Institution at intervals between 1816 and 1861, sending usually small studies and fancy subjects, but occasionally larger works, like ‘Satan’ in 1829.

The National Portrait Gallery has his portrait of George, fourth earl of Aberdeen, painted in 1846, and the ‘Meeting of the Fine Art Commission at Gwydyr House, Whitehall, in the year 1846,’ containing twenty-eight portraits. The latter work was presented in 1872 by the artist, together with the original sketch. His portrait of Sir Thomas Wyse [q. v.] is in the National Gallery of Ireland. Among other portraits painted by him were those of Lord Melbourne; Lord Palmerston, whole length, engraved in mezzotint by Samuel Cousins, R.A.; Richard, second marquis of Westminster, engraved, also in mezzotint, by Henry Cousins; George, second duke of Sutherland; Henry, third marquis of Lansdowne; George, seventh earl of Carlisle; Richard Bethell, afterwards Lord Westbury; and John Gibson, R.A.

Partridge died at 60 Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, London, on 25 Nov. 1872.

[Art Journal, 1873, p. 44; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves and Armstrong, 1886–9, ii. 257; Catalogue of the National Portrait Gallery, 1888; Royal Academy Exhibition Catalogues, 1815–46; British Institution Exhibition Catalogues (Living Artists), 1816–61.]

R. E. G.