- Visual and material culture
- Ceremony, ritual and performance
- Transnational history & cultural exchange
My research is centred on the cultural, political and social histories of early modern Britain, with a particular interest in visual and material culture. When thinking about the ‘visual’, I take into account not only the processes of seeing and looking, but also the capacity of humans to form mental pictures of things that are invisible or abstract. Incorporating a wide range of visual experiences from the past is valuable when thinking about ceremonial, and my research to date has drawn attention to the significance of non-verbal systems of communication in early modern political culture. My first book (under contract with Boydell & Brewer, due out 2020), provisionally entitled Visualising Protestant Kingship: Art, Ceremony and Monarchy after the Glorious Revolution (1689-1714), takes a fresh look at the way monarchs, consorts and their advisors used ceremony and art in the decades following the Glorious Revolution. It also investigates the visual response to royals, from the outpouring of royal imagery produced by the commercial market in England to the vibrant visual culture of monarchy that existed in the provinces.
My current research interests are primarily focused on the early modern maritime world and Prince George of Denmark (consort to Queen Anne r. 1702-1714 and Lord High Admiral). I am investigating George in the context of his Scandinavian upbringing and life experiences, and exploring the possibility he was an agent of cultural transfer and exchange. The overall aim of my research is to evaluate George of Denmark’s contributions to British society and culture and, by studying his patronage network, assess his transnational influence. In the longer term I hope to develop a collaborative research project that investigates Danish royal consorts who lived in Britain and their British equivalents in Denmark.
A parallel interest, stimulated by my research on naval portraits George of Denmark commissioned as Lord High Admiral, is a group of Admirals who served in the post Glorious Revolution period (e.g. Rooke and Shovell), and the cultural dimensions of the early modern Navy. I am interested in the maritime worlds these men created through visual and material culture, and the extent to which their naval identity shaped their cultural, political and social interactions with the wider public. This research interest has led to my involvement in a collaborative knowledge exchange project between the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology and the National Trust (Making maritime memories: the British country house and the sea). I also maintain an on-going interest in royal progresses in the post-Restoration era (1660-1714).