Frances Partridge

black and white photograph of Frances Partridge

Frances Partridge

by Unknown photographer
vintage snapshot print, August 1946
4 1/8 in. x 2 1/2 in. (104 mm x 64 mm) image size
Purchased, 1979
Photographs Collection
NPG x38544

made available with a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported licence

National Portrait Gallery London © National Portrait Gallery

Frances Partridge


1900 Mar 15th
United Kingdom


2004 Feb 5th
United Kingdom



Authored By: Helen Southworth

Edited By: N/A

Frances Partridge (née Marshall) attended the progressive school Bedales where she became a good friend of Julia Strachey (whose biography she would later write).  After graduating from Newnham College, Cambridge University, in 1921, Frances worked for six years (1922-1928) at David Garnett and Frankie Birrell's Bloomsbury book shop, her friendship with Julia leading to friendships with Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington and Ralph Partridge.  Suggesting the degree to which Frances was enmeshed in Bloomsbury, her sister Ray (Rachel) Marshall married David Garnett in 1921, and her brother, Tom Marshall, later London School of Economics sociologist T.E. Marshall, was married to Hogarth Press employee Marjorie Thompson (Joad) from 1925 until her death in 1931. (When Ray died of cancer in 1940, David Garnett married Angelica Bell).

Frances married Ralph Partridge in 1933, after the death of his first wife (from 1921) Dora Carrington. Frances had met Ralph while he was working for the Woolfs and she for Birrell and Garnett at 19 Taviton Square. At this point Frances entered the already complicated Carrington/Lytton/Ralph/Gerald Brennan love triangle, which did not resolve itself until Carrington killed herself in 1932, just two months after the death from cancer of Lytton Strachey.

The only son of Ralph and Frances, Lytton (Burgo) Partridge (1935-1963), married Henrietta Garnett, daughter of Angelica Bell and David Garnett. Burgo died quite suddenly of a heart attack when Henrietta Garnett was pregnant with their daughter, Sophie.

Frances Partridge wrote and published extensively on the subject Bloomsbury, including multiple volumes of her own diaries.  She also translated from French and Spanish into English, including works by Miguel Ángel Asturias, Alejo Carpentier, and Gilbert Martineau.

For more images of Frances Partridge and friends see: