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Caroline Pegum

Caroline Pegum

Researcher (Co-ordinator) Understanding British Portraits


Job description

I am responsible for sustaining and developing Understanding British Portraits, a professional network for curators, museum-based learning professionals, conservators, academics and independent scholars engaged with British portraiture. The network aims to enhance the knowledge and understanding of portraits in all media in British collections, for the benefit of future research, exhibitions, interpretation, and learning programmes. My role includes the design and delivery of an annual programme of seminars and private collection visits, and management of an annual Fellowship programme which enables professionals to develop their portrait expertise. I also manage the network’s website ( and online resources.


I joined the Gallery in 2007 when the Understanding British Portraits network was first taking shape. I studied History and the History of Art at University College Dublin before joining the Office of Public Works in Dublin where I published two books of Irish architectural history and co-curated a permanent display at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Since then, I have worked as Curatorial Assistant with English Heritage, and Evening Sale Co-ordinator at Christie’s King Street. I completed my MPhil with the University of Birmingham in 2010.

Research interests

My MPhil thesis examined the artistic and literary career of the portraitist Charles Jervas (c.1669-1739), with particular analysis of the social, political and ethnic character of his patron-base. I received a Research Support Grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in 2011 to develop this research, and to prepare a Catalogue Raisonné for publication (forthcoming, The Walpole Society). I am also researching the practice of the Catholic Jacobite painter Garret Morphey (c.1650-1716) towards a future publication, in collaboration with Dr Jane Fenlon. My research interests encompass British and Irish artistic training, production and patronage c.1680—c.1730.

Recent Publications

'The Schönheitengalerie by Charles Jervas for the first Hanoverian court in London, c1717/22', British Art Journal, XX, 1 (spring/summer 2019), 38-48

Co-editor, Irish Fine Art in the Early Modern Period. New Perspectives on Artistic Practice 1620-1820, Irish Academic Press, 2016

‘A new contribution to the oeuvre of Garret Morphey (c1650–1716)’, British Art Journal, XV, 3 (spring 2015), 85-92.

Biographical entry on Charles Jervas for Art and Architecture of Ireland, 5 vols, Royal Irish Academy and Yale University Press, November 2014.

'Bishop Simon Digby (c.1645-1720): a reappraisal of the nature and status of his artistic practice', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies [the annual journal of the Irish Georgian Society], XV (2012), 34-59.

“An Ingenious Painter’: new factors in the early career of Charles Jervas’, Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies, XIII (2010), 78-95.

‘A fresh look at Charles Jervas’, Irish Arts Review, XXVII, 4 (Winter 2010), 90-95.



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