Robert Partridge (1861-1932) began trading as an antique dealer in the late 19th century, in Great Portland Street, London. He was the elder brother of Frank Partridge Snr (see Frank Partridge & Sons). Robert Partridge came from a family of wealthy bootmakers and had initially been apprenticed to his father, but following his marriage to Doris Cohen, the daughter of an antique dealer, in 1890, Robert Partridge began his career as an antiques dealer.
By the late 1890s R.W. Partridge was trading at 19 St. James's Street, London, working with his younger brother Frank Partridge (Frank left to set up his own business in November 1904). In 1899 Robert purchased and exhibited at his 19 St. James Street shop, the collection of 'Old Dresden' which had formerly been on display at the South Kensington Museum and the Bethnal Green Museum since 1874. At the beginning of 1910 Robert Partridge moved to new premises at 180 New Bond Street. In August of the same year he went into partnership with picture dealers, Lewis and Simmons, and in October he sailed to New York on the Lusitania, taking a collection of sixty pieces of English Furntiture with him. He rented a suite of rooms on the second floor of the Plaza Hotel where he showed the furniture in a selling exhibition. Accompanying the exhibition was a lavishly illustrated catalogue entitled, ‘The Furniture of Thomas Chippendale’.
On the 28th of November, 1910 the New York Times reported: ‘This Collection, the result of 20 years’ unremitting search and careful selection, has the unqualified admiration and approval of New York’s foremost critics and collectors.In quality of design and craftsmanship it far excels any collection ever shown in America’.
The publicity attracted the attention of the railroad magnate and art collector, Henry E. Huntington, who bought almost a third of the Partridge Collection for his new mansion in Pasadena, forming the basis of his famous English Furniture Collection which can still be seen in the Huntingdon Museum in Los Angeles. As of the 2nd of February 1911, the newspapers reported that the collection had been moved to the galleries of A.J.Crawford Co (253-255 5th Avenue). The following year Robert Partridge opened his own shop in 5th Avenue although by then his relationship with Lewis and Simmons had ended. At some point between 1913 and 1920 Robert Partridge moved to California where he set up a business and continued to sell furniture and objects to Henry Huntington.