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 Professor Alixe Bovey, FSA, FRHistS), 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 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, the history of the Tudor portrait miniature, among other subjects related to the above courses.
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, and On the Tudor Trail. 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.
It is many years since I undertook my Master’s study at the University of Kent, which was just the beginning of a fabulous journey. The various compulsory elements of the Master’s degree opened the way to be able to read original documents, and an understanding of the different types of documents and records all of which hold a plethora of untapped information for the serious researcher. My dissertation was on the Life and Works of Levina Teerlinc, and since then I have continued to research various manuscripts that may, or may not have been created by Levina Teerlinc to the point that I am now at the point where I can write this up and reveal these to the world. This is the next project as I’m currently writing up research into a specific Hilliard miniature proposing an identification of the sitter, and an analysis of the apparently nonsensical motto.
If you quote any of my posts, then remember to cite it properly. Art history research is costly and very time consuming so to claim anyone’s research as your own will get you into a whole heap of trouble. So if you are a student, take notice and don’t forget to cite your sources.
I am a member of the Society of Renaissance Studies and a Friend 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. 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 email@example.com or ring me on 01372 272235.