Archive for October 7th, 2015

October 7, 2015

More Oral History Interviews – Frank Partridge

We are gathering quite a collection of Oral History interviews for the Antique Dealers project – we now have 19 interviews in our database…with more still to come! Our latest interviewee was Frank Partridge, the great-grandson of the founder of perhaps one of the world’s most famous antique dealing firms, Frank Partridge & Sons, of London and New York. In a really engaging interview, Frank told us about the early history of Partridge & Sons – the family were originally Cobblers in Hertford apparently, before moving into the antique trade in the late 19th century. Here, below, is Frank Partridge, standing in front of a portrait of his great-grandfather – Frank is a very experienced antique dealer, having been in the antique business for almost 40 years….

Frank Partridge

Frank Partridge. Image copyright Frank Partridge Limited.

Robert Partridge, the brother of Frank’s great-grandfather, was the first to set up in business as an antique dealer, in c.1900 – and here’s an image of R.W. Partridge’s shop in c.1910 – ‘Top Red Gallery’ in King Street, St. James’s, London. Robert was one of four Partridge brothers, all involved in the antique trade; Frank senior set up the eponymous firm in c.1905.

Partridge Top Red Gallery

R.W. Partridge, Top Red Gallery. c.1910.

Frank joined the family business in c.1981, before leaving to set up his own antique business in 2004. As readers of the blog will probably know, Frank Partridge & Sons was sold in 2006, and eventually ceased trading shortly afterwards.   During the interview, Frank offers some fascinating reflections of the changes to the antique trade over the last 40 years – as well as observations on the conditions and networks of the various antique markets in Britain, the USA and in France. He also told us about Partridge’s relationships to major collectors, such a J.Paul Getty, and other international dealers such as French & Company, of New York.

As with all of the other interviews we have completed, we are in the process of editing the interview, ready for uploading into the project websites for future generations of researchers and interested parties, to enjoy.



Home Subjects

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A research project investigating the history of the antiques trade in Britain in the 19th & 20th centuries