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Department of History of Art






My PhD research investigated 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.

More broadly, I am interested in print culture, ornament in the Northern Renaissance and communicative or epistemic imagery, including heraldry but also calligraphy and scientific diagrams.    




Key publications: 

Hughes, F., “Sylvanus Morgan’s Library: Books for an Aspirational Heraldic Painter,” The Library, 22:1 (March 2021): 69-92.

Hughes, F., “Micrography, Medleys and Marks: The Visual Discernment of Text in the Calligraphy Collection of Samuel Pepys,” Word & Image, 36:4 (December 2020): 397-416.

Hughes, F., “The Rothley Shaft: An Art-Historical Reassessment,” Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions, 90 (2016): 141-156.

Teaching Associate in Early Modern Art History and Affiliated Lecturer
Director of Studies in History of Art at Trinity Hall