Bernard Partridge – Winsford Trust’s Very Own Mr Punch

Signature in the Winsford Cottage Hospital visitor book 1910

The Winsford archive contains the Visitor Book, started when the hospital was opened in 1900. It is clear that during the early days a number of the visitors were house guests of Molly Webb-Medley. One that stands out is Bernard Partridge (1861- 1945) who, with his wife, visited the hospital in August 1910.

Winsford's very own Mr Punch ©winsfordtrust

Punch Magazine

Bernard, later Sir Bernard, had been on the staff of the satirical magazine “Punch” since 1891 and by 1899 held the post of Second Cartoonist. In 1910 he had just succeeded Linley Sambourne as Cartoonist, a post he held until his death in 1945.
Not only do we have Bernard’s autograph but, in the “comments” column of the book he left this delightful sketch of Mr Punch with his head on a pillow.

Bernard Partridge (1861 - 1945)

A Little About Bernard Partridge

Bernard came from a distinguished family with links to both art and medicine. His father, Richard Partridge was a Fellow of the Royal Society, President of the The Royal College of Surgeons and Professor of Anatomy at the The Royal Academy. His uncle, John Partridge, was “portrait painter extraordinary” to Queen Victoria.

Before joining “Punch”, Bernard had tried his hand at a number of things. After leaving Stonyhurst College (where Arthur Conan Doyle was a contemporary), he joined an architect’s office but moved fairly quickly from that position to one with a firm specialising in ecclesiastical design. Eventually he found his way to the West London School of Art and subsequently worked as a decorator of church interiors. He supplemented his income by contributing cartoons and illustrations to a wide variety of late 19th century periodicals, including Vanity Fair. He also found time to work as an actor, under the pseudonym “Bernard Gould” and had some critical success. He first submitted work to “Punch” in 1891 on the recommendation of the famous illustrator, George Du Maurier, and was taken onto the permanent staff within the year.

Bernard was a distinguished artist beyond his work as an illustrator, working principally in watercolours and pastels, and was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours.