Paul Tanqueray began his photographic career in 1923 as one of Hugh Cecil's pupils. He opened his first studio in 1925. During this time he employed an ex-Cambridge graduate as his assistant, Cecil Beaton, until Beaton was taken on by Vogue.
The studio was very sucessful and in 1930 Tanqueray moved to the West End of London at 8, Dover Street, near the Ritz Hotel. His photographs appeared regularly in The Sketch and The Tatler and most frequently inside and on the cover of Theatre World.
Tanqueray retired in 1965, and in 1983 he donated his negative collection of celebrities to the National Portrait Gallery, which joined 67 prints previously given in 1975.