Laura Melin

PhD student

The Art of Persuasion: Usurpation and Legitimisation in Fifteenth-Century Genealogical Rolls

Supervised by Dr Alixe Bovey

This dissertation will analyse genealogical rolls produced c. 1399-1509 for English kings and the nobility to determine how the imagery and text within them served to legitimise (or condemn) each king’s, or dynasty’s, reign. Through a consideration of the fifteenth-century dynasties as a sequential whole, this dissertation will move away from the current academic interest in providing comparatively isolated studies of the rolls produced for a single king or dynasty.


2018-2021 – The Courtauld Institute of Art, PhD Student

2017 – University of York, MA History of Art, “The Art of Legitimisation: The Coronation Roll of Edward IV”, supervised by Dr. Jeanne Neuchterlein

2015 – University of St Andrews, BA Joint Honours in Mediaeval History and Art History

Research Interests

  • Late medieval manuscripts
  • Genealogical and chronicle rolls
  • Late medieval English art
  • Form and function of manuscripts
  • Post-medieval histories of medieval manuscripts
  • Power and propaganda
  • Representation of power and political relationships in late medieval art
  • Usurpation and legitimisation in art

Research Activity

  • Power Rangers’ Research Network (2019-2020)
  • Virtual Museum Exhibition Developer, University of St Andrews, 2015
  • Research Intern, Leuchars Parish Church, 2014-2015
  • Curatorial Research Intern, Dayton Art Institute, 2013.

Conference Papers (2019-2021)

  • 02 July, 2019: “An Analysis of Text and Imagery in Oxford, Bodley Rolls 5”, International Medieval Congress, Leeds
  • 09 November, 2019: “Edward IV’s ‘Coronation Roll’ and its Audience, Home and Abroad”, Performing Power in the Premodern World, University of Warwick
  • 07 February, 2020: “Parchment and Aspects of Patronage in Fifteenth-Century England”, Working Materials and Materials at Work in Medieval Art and Architecture, Courtauld Institute of Art
  • 18-19 February, 2021: helped to organise the 26th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium
  • 22 June, 2021: “‘Be right of eritage he scholde it have’: the kinship diagrams of Henry VI and Edward IV”, Postgraduate Symposium, Courtauld Institute of Art (forthcoming)

Research Grants

November 2019-September 2020: £500 grant from Sam Fogg to institute the ‘Power Rangers’ Research Network, exploring the roles of art and visual rhetoric in the expression of medieval power.