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About the collection

The Terence Pepper Collection began with a childhood collection of postcards and grew in contents and scope as a resource to explore the history of art portrait photography. The collection currently consists of over 2,000 prints, ephemera, vintage magazines and negatives. Between 1977 and 2014 over 3,000 items from the collection were donated to the National Portrait Gallery, London and other museums. Digital records of this gift and the associated celebratory display can be found here.

Strengths of the collection reflect Terence's eclectic tastes; areas of interest include works by women photographers such as Eveleen Myers, Rita Martin, Lallie Charles, Madame D'Ora, Dorothy Wilding and Madame Yevonde as well as lesser known artists like Lena Connell. The collection's photographs from the 1960s reflect Terence's formative interest in the 'pop' years. Also strongly featured in the collection are press photographs, ranging from early examples by George Grantham Baines and Christina Broom to under appreciated talents such as John Pratt and many whose work was distributed by agencies such as Camera Press and Keystone. Other interests include intrepid women pilots and motor racers and iconic figures from the 20th century such as Tilly Losch, Lillie Langtry, Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy.

Loans to exhibitions

To discuss borrowing items from the collection please contact us.


After five years (1962-1967) at Epsom College, Terence Pepper moved to London to take a law degree (LLB) at Queen Mary College and two further years to qualify as a Barrister before changing careers by taking a Post-Graduate Librarian qualification (ALA) at Ealing Technical College. This was followed by his first job as Research Assistant at the Mansell Collection, an historical picture library, and then home of the E.O. Hoppe archive. In October 1975 he joined the National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG) as Librarian.


Two years later Terence curated his first photography exhibition, 'Monday's Children: The Fair and Famous of the 1920s and 1930s'. This survey of London studio photography highlighted the work of Paul Tanqueray, Hugh Cecil, Bertram Park, Marcus Adams and Dorothy Wilding and was a collaboration with Val Williams, a founder-director of the Impressions Gallery in York. The following year he moved to the Photographs Department at the NPG as Research Assistant, succeeding Valerie Lloyd.

In 1978 he became Curator of Photographs and curated and published his first National Portrait Gallery catalogue to mark the centenary of E.O. Hoppe in 'Camera Portraits by E.O. Hoppe.'

Terence Pepper

Photographed by Eleanor Gray, May 2018

In 1981 he curated his first major exhibition, 'Norman Parkinson: 50 Years of Portraits and Fashion', which was shown also in a reduced form in New York at Sotheby’s and at The National Academy of Design. Many years of research on the 8,000 plus negatives and prints by Howard Coster resulted in another centenary exhibition in 1985 including a complete listing of his work in the NPG's collection. Twenty for Today in the same year comprised a survey of 20 contemporary photographers whose work had appeared in the new style journals of the 1980s including the Face, Blitz, Ritz Newspaper and I-D.

In 1988 the exhibitions 'Helmut Newton' and 'Alice Springs Portraits' were followed by research for the first monograph on 'Lewis Morley: Photographer of the Sixties' (1989), including a trip to Sydney to meet with him. A major book written with John Kobal on the MGM photographer 'Clarence Sinclair Bull: The Man Who Shot Garbo' became the template for a further series of successful exhibitions based on the same formula including 'Horst: Portraits' (2001) and 'Beaton: Portraits' (2004), as well as more recently 'Man Ray: Portraits' (2013- 2014) which toured to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (where it was nominated for a Lucie Award) and The Pushkin Gallery in Moscow. In 2015, ‘Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon’ enjoyed a record breaking success at the NPG before touring to Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery. Foreign language editions of the catalogue have been printed in German and Japanese.


Subsequent exhibitions as a freelancer include the rediscovery of the work of the photographer Graham Keen from the 1960s in '1966 and all that: Pop and Protest' at the Lucy Bell Gallery in St Leonards-on-Sea and an advisory role at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London where Pepper curated the photographic displays in a survey of Jazz Age Fashion and Photographs in 2016. Further projects with this museum are in preparation.

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