Friday, January 22, 2010

Terence Pepper Delivers The 60s

This photo (double click on it) by Natalia Calvocoressi shows Terence Pepper, the Curator of the Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and some of his staff, plus Rootstein models of the 1960s Including: Pattie Boyd in a dress by Ossie Clark with a print by Celia Birtwell, Twiggy and Sandie Shaw in Biba and Jill Kennington (who used to be my favourite model) in Mary Quant. Phew!

When Terence offered to give me a guided tour of his exhibition today, which he devised as well as curated, I jumped at the chance.

'And come and see the two princes,' he said.

At first I thought he was referring to Edward and Richard incarcerated in the Tower before I realised he was referring to the 'historic' portrait of William and Harry by Nicky Philipps in the gallery which is the first one of them together.

After I had curtsied in front of the pic, Terence took me round the exhibition which is one word 'dynamic'. The show comes off on Janaury 24th, but Londoners who missed it will be able to catch it at Newcastle (the Laing Art Gallery) and Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery as part of the tour.

Over 100 of the 150 photos have never been displayed before, and Terence meticulously filled me in on each photograph while we went round the exhibit (there's also an incredible pic of Shirley Bassey by Mary McCartney).

The entire show was like a blast of déjà vu. I ogled the antique memorabilia and photographs taken by the 60s photographers, who were responsible for making the singers and groups perennially famous with their different images during the decade. Snappers included David Bailey (his pics were the biggest in the show!), Gered Mankowitz, Robert Whitaker, Brian Duffy, Terence Donovan, Richard Avedon and too many more to laundry list here.

Eavesdropping bystanders were fascinated by Terence's gossipy stories behind the pics, which included the likes of Helen Shaprio, Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Johnny Kidd (snapped by the legendary Angus McBean), Adam Faith (snapped by Cecil Beaton), Bob Dylan in 1966, Mick Jagger with Francoise Hardy, the Rolling Stones, Dusty, Jimmy Hendrix, The Who, Bob Dylan and a gem of a pic by Dezo Hoffman: Steampacket with Rod Stewart and Long John Baldry dressed as Mods, Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger. Aaaaagh!!!

While Terence continued his way through the show discussing the pics, he attracted more and more eavesdropping followers until by the time we arrived in 1969, he had a congo of fascinated hanger-ons who were so impressed by his rhetoric, they all bought his book. I was so overwhelmed by the exhibition, that I even got a copy of Terence's glossy Book (with an essay by Jon Savage) of the show - a real collector's item especially as Terence signed it.

Terence then showed me around the Twiggy: A life In Photographs exhibit which is in the gallery's Siberia room 33, and will be on until March 24th. The only sign of Justin de Villeneuve was a co-credit on one of the stills, I wonder why?! (There's also a book out on Twiggy by Pepper called Twiggy: A Life In Photographs which proves how prolific he really is).
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