Curators' Choice: Photographs from the Terence Pepper Gift

    Margaret Morris,    by Walter Benington,    1918,    NPG x128743,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Margaret Morris, by Walter Benington, 1918, NPG x128743, © National Portrait Gallery, London

Past display archive
12 May 2015 - 5 June 2016

Room 31 case display


The works in these two component displays are drawn from around 2500 photographs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries generously donated by Terence Pepper, Senior Special Adviser on Photographs. Curators’ Choice is a tribute to his skills of detection and identification, and his eye for an overlooked or misidentified sitter or photographer, as well as his interest in charting cultural life in all its variety.

Terence’s long and illustrious career at the National Portrait Gallery as Curator of Photographs and Head of the Photographs Collection (1978-2013) has left its mark in the remarkable body of photographic works acquired for the Collection in this period. Terence’s expertise, energy and enthusiasm transformed the Gallery’s photographic holdings, and today the Photographs Collection comprises over 250,000 portraits by leading photographers including many that he has helped bring back to prominence.

This selection, taken from the gift, has been made by staff who worked with Terence Pepper over a number of years: Georgia Atienza, Clare Freestone, Imogen Lyons, Constantia Nicolaides and Helen Trompeteler.

The display in Room 24 (until 24 January 2016) shows photographs from the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Beginning with cartes-de-visite and continuing with cabinet cards, stereoscopic cards, cigarette cards and postcards, presented broadly chronologically, the selection reflects Terence’s recognition and championing of the popular forms of photography that helped drive the medium’s development during the nineteenth-century and which are integral to its history.

The themes covered in the display in Room 31 (until 5 June 2016) aim to reflect Terence’s career, his appreciation of the arts, his championing of press prints as an invaluable record of key historic moments, his breadth of knowledge of popular culture, notably from the 1960s, as well as the defining exhibitions he curated.