FRANK PARTRIDGE is one of the oldest dealers in fine antique furniture in London and was started by the current owner’s Great Grand father in around 1900. It specialises in offering the very finest furniture, clocks and works of art that were made during the 18th Century in France and England. It operates from a gallery in Knightsbridge in the heart of London and has been instrumental in supplying some of the greatest collections and Museums in the world.
The Company, trading as Frank Partridge, has been one of England major antique dealing firms for over 100 years. Founded in 1900 by the present Frank Partridge’s great grandfather also called Frank Partridge, who opened a gallery almost opposite Christie’s in King Street, dealing in the very finest English and French furniture and Chinese porcelain. The Company received the Royal Warrant as Purveyors of Fine Art to Queen Mary, who was a frequent visitor to the gallery. When these premises were bombed in 1939 Frank Partridge Snr moved his business to a building opposite Sotheby’s in New Bond Street that had previously been built as a gallery for Colnaghi in 1911 and that had become vacant during the war. Here the business stayed until the sale of the business in 2006 when Frank and his wife, Susan moved to different premises and kept to the traditions of dealing in the finest French and English furniture, paintings and objects d’art of the 18th Century. The firm over the last 100 years has been instrumental in helping to create some of the greatest collections formed during the 20th Century and has sold items to most of the major museums in the world.
As China has had a huge impact on the Artistic development of the decorative arts in Europe during the 18th and early 19th Century it seems only natural in this new inter connected world for the Company to exhibit in Shanghai. Trade in works of art has been taking place between China and Europe for hundreds of years. In the 16th century Chinese porcelain was imported into Europe by Portuguese and subsequently by Dutch traders, but it was not until 1672 that the English East India Company secured a trading post in Taiwan. The Company bought to Europe Chinese porcelain vases and the French who were particularly keen on making the porcelain look richer mounted the porcelain with gilded bronze mounts. Chinese porcelain was highly sought after, not only as objects of beauty, but also for dinner services. During the 1720’s over 150 English families commissioned porcelain services with each item decorated with the family crest. Until this time Europeans had no knowledge of how to make porcelain and ate solely off pewter tableware, except for the aristocracy who ate off silver ware. The arrival of Chinese porcelain in Europe radically changed the eating habits of the Europeans and porcelain dinner services became a great symbol of wealth and position. Europeans were also hugely impacted by the richness and beauty of lacquer ware and this led to the The East India Company importing large numbers of lacquer cabinets and screens. On their arrival in London these very fashionable cabinets often had wooden gilded stands made for them so that they could be used as highly decorative pieces of furniture. Lacquer cabinets and screens were also purchased by cabinetmakers with the intention of cutting up the lacquer panels and incorporating them into furniture. This was especially true in France and was considered the height of fashion. Therefore China influence on the western art market was hugely significant during the 18th Century.
Frank Partridge is exhibiting for the first time in Shanghai and will be exhibiting items that have either been inspired by the Chinese influence or created in the 18th Century using pieces of Chinese art.