Bernard Partridge, the son of Richard Partridge, a teacher of anatomy at the Royal Academy, was born in London in 1861. After being educated at Stonyhurst he entered an architect's office and then a firm of stained-glass designers. Partridge also acted in several plays and for a time he could not decide between the theatre and art as a career.
Partridge was first invited to contribute to Punch in 1891. In these early drawings he concentrated on illustrated reviews of plays. The following year Bernard Partridgewas asked to become a staff cartoonist with the magazine. He initially refused as he still hoped to make it as a serious artist.
Partridge's work reflect his theatrical background and as one critic pointed out, his cartoons often had "a massive figure, coming down to the footlights". In 1901 Partridge replaced John Tenniel as the chief cartoonist at Punch. Bernard Partridge held conservative views and was especially harsh on the trade union movement and the Women's Social and Political Union. Partridge was knighted by Stanley Baldwin, the Conservative Prime Minister, in 1925 and the following year gave loyal support to the government during the General Strike.
Although many critics believe that Partridge was Punch's best ever artist he always doubted his ability. In a letter he wrote in 1897 he told a friend that he considered much of his work to be "second-rate" and that he was "little more than a hack draughtsman."
Sir Bernard Partridge died in 1945.