Having studied the History of Art, Architecture & Design at Kingston University, Surrey (UK), 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 Henry VIII’s court artist, Levina Teerlinc (1520-1576).
At the end of 2019 I undertook an investigation into a panel painting into 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 made at the beginning of 2020 by clicking this link.
Earlier, in April 2019, I presented a paper at an international conference held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, titled ‘Hidden in Plain Sight‘, on the visual evidence of trade with the New World and Far East prior to 1500. 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 this year, because the global pandemic of the Covid-19 virus has ensured me being at home for the past ten months or so, and it is clear will not have subsided by July, I will be presenting another aspect of my research into the visual evidence of travel at the annual medieval symposium at Harlaxton http://harlaxton.org.uk via Zoom. There are images in various illuminated manuscripts that show there was more than just traveller’s tales, and some of these paintings, be they marginal references or full page illuminations, are clearly inspired by what these intrepid explorers brought back with them from their voyages into the unknown. While Zoom is all very well, I will miss the opportunity to network with fellow historians and hear what they are up to over a coffee or glass of wine.
As for other stuff, I live in Surrey with my terrier 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 (stranger is a way of describing foreigners); 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. I am frequently asked to give talks to art clubs and various other groups on 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 and, when funds allow, I am working with a documentary maker researching a previously unknown Tudor portrait known as The Wadlow. There is an article from 2017 on this painting on my blog page. Since then I’ve made some more interesting finds about the possible identity of this sitter, but this is still under wraps. As you can imagine, these researches take time and are a case of knowing where to look and being able to read and understand the original documents, if they exist. For anyone wanting to enhance their knowledge of art and history, I would recommend learning how to read these original documents and the English National Archives at Kew have a splendid FREE online course on their website https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/. You can do this at your own pace and you don’t have the horror of an exam at the end of it, which I had to do all those years ago when I was at Kent.
You can see what talks I have given to my 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 usually 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.