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Frances Rothwell Hughes

Research Interests

My PhD research investigates the transformation of heraldic imagery during the early modern period, focusing in particular on the 'northern' European Renaissance.  I aim to counter the prevailing tendency in art historical scholarship, which assumes that heraldry was a restrictive, stiff and stale imagery that was at odds with the pictorial naturalism and literary culture associated with the Renaissance.  My thesis traces the diversification of heraldic visual culture from the 1480s onwards and, in so doing, suggests ways in which heraldry was in dialogue with the cultural concerns of early modern Europe, including satire and parody, the study of the natural world, and the growing theorisation of ornament.