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Biography

I studied Renaissance History and Literature at Harvard University and then went on to gain my PhD from The Warburg Institute. I have held positions at the Universities of Essex, the Warburg Institute, Birkbeck, Sussex and Queen Mary, University of London and came to King’s in 2013.  My roles have involved a considerable level of management experience and I am now Vice-Principal (Arts & Sciences).       

Research interests

  • Renaissance and Early Modern Material Culture
  • Consumption in Early Modern Europe
  • Dress and Fashion in Early Modern Europe
  • Smell and the Senses in Early Modern Europe

My early work centred on Renaissance Milan and fifteenth-century court culture. I became interested in issues of consumption and went on to work with colleagues in Economic History and Cultural History, resulting in my publications on shopping, marketplaces and pedlars. I have led a number of major collaborative projects including ‘The Material Renaissance: Costs and Consumption in Italy, 1300-1600’; ‘ Fashioning the Early Modern: Creativity and Innovation in Europe, 1500-1800’; and ‘Beyond Text: Performances, Sounds, Images, Objects’. 

My current work asks how and why objects and actions (such as ruffs, wearing a beard, piercing your ears, using fans, etc.) spread in Europe and why others did not. 

For more details, please see my full research profile.

Expertise and public engagement

I work closely with museums and galleries and with media companies to ensure that early modern material culture is well understood by the public. I have been involved in the development of the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance Galleries and the Europe, 1600-1800 galleries.