Having studied the History of Art, Architecture & Design at Kingston University, I embarked on a full-time Master of Arts degree in Medieval & Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent. My Master’s dissertation (supervised by Dr Alixe Bovey, now Head of Research at the Courtauld Institute), was on the life and works of Levina Teerlinc (1520-1576), Henry VIII’s court artist.
At the end of 2019 I undertook an investigation into a panel painting in a private collection. This is an intriguing image and the scientific data revealed that it had, at some point, been split and rejoined. You can download my full report by clicking this link.
In April 2019, I presented a paper at an international conference held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Here’s the link to the paper outline. https://melanievtaylor.co.uk/2019/04/17/hidden-in-plain-sight-visual-evidence-of-travellers-tales-trade-in-birds-other-marvellous-beasts/
As for 2021, like everyone, I’ve been ensnared at home for the past year or so. This being the case presented another aspect of my research into the visual evidence of travel at the annual medieval symposium at Harlaxton http://harlaxton.org.uk via Zoom in July 2021. There are images in various illuminated manuscripts that show that the animals represented in these books were more than just traveller’s tales. Some of these paintings, be they marginal references or full page illuminations, are clearly inspired by what these intrepid explorers saw or brought back with them from their voyages into the unknown. While Zoom is all very well, I missed being able network with fellow historians over a coffee or glass of wine.
As for other stuff, I live in Surrey and have taught the following courses in art and medieval history to various adult education groups: Art & Architecture in Renaissance 1350-1500; The Exchange of Ideas between Southern & Northern Europe – Giotto & Van Eyck to Michelangelo & Hans Holbein the Younger; The Italian High Renaissance & Mannerism 1500 – 1600; The Stranger Painters of the Tudor Court; The Marketing of Monarchy; Elizabeth I – the Age of Gloriana; The Normans in Europe; The Reconquest of Spain; The Rise of the Venetian Republic; The Albigensian Crusade; France 1450 – 1500; The Golden Age of Dutch Art and How the Impressionists documented the Industrial Revolution. In addition I have given study days on Hans Holbein the Younger, Nicholas Hilliard and the history of the Tudor portrait miniature.
While this appears to be very early modern focused, I am also interested in the history of photography, especially portrait photography and photographic essays documenting world events. I am frequently asked to give talks to art clubs and various other groups on all aspects of art and history and hopefully this will continue once we have this virus under control.
I have written articles for various popular websites such as QueenAnneBoleyn.com, TudorsDynasty, On the Tudor Trail and the Tudor Society. When funds allow, I am working with a documentary maker researching a previously unknown Tudor portrait known as The Wadlow. There is an article written in 2017 on this painting on my blog page with the title “Is this a portrait of a young William Shakespeare?”. Since writing about The Wadlow I’ve made some more interesting finds about the possible identity of this sitter, but this is still under wraps.
I am a member of the Society of Renaissance Study and of the Friends of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
You can see what talks I have given to my own Ashtead Art Lovers group during the past 12 years + on the “What we have looked at before” page. There is a list of Study Days for those interested in taking a deeper inquiry into these subjects. These take place in my home, but I am very happy to travel to give any of these talks to interested groups. If you would like to discuss dates etc. please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring me on 01372 272235.