Art, Architecture and Reputation Management in Early Fourteenth-Century England

Speaker: Laura Slater (Lecturer in the History of Medieval Art, University of Cambridge)

 c. 1325-1330 east window of the St Lucy Chapel, St Frideswide’s Priory (now Christ Church Cathedral), Oxford. Photo: taken by Laura Slater, by kind permission of the Dean and Canons of Christ Church.

One’s good name or fama was of great importance in medieval society. Medievalists have long recognised that spin, smear campaigns and other ‘dark arts’ of public relations and propaganda strategies were practised as keenly and carefully in pre-modern politics as they are today. This paper explores the role of art and architecture in these processes of reputation management. It considers the efforts of Isabella of France, her allies and her opponents to steer public opinion on and interpretations of her potentially adulterous, treasonous and regicidal actions in England after 1326.

Laura Slater is a Lecturer in the History of Medieval Art at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Peterhouse. Her book, Art and Political Thought in Medieval England, c. 1150-1350 was published in 2018. Her research interests centre on the relationships between art, ideas, power and politics in medieval Britain and Europe. She is also interested in medieval responses to antiquity and the Holy Land, particularly in the context of the crusades.

Organised by Dr Tom Nickson (The Courtauld)