Dr Helen Pierce

Dr Helen Pierce
Dr Helen Pierce

Dr Helen Pierce



Accepting PhDs


Art History, School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History, 50-52 College Bounds, ABERDEEN, AB24 3DS

Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History


PhD, History of Art, University of York

MA, History of Art, University of York

BA (Hons), English and History of Art, University of York

I arrived at the University of Aberdeen in September 2010 as a Teaching Fellow in History of Art, having previously been employed as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of York's Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and as an Associate Lecturer for the Open University. I was appointed as Lecturer in British Art in June 2012. I've also held research fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC and the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California. 

External Memberships

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2014-)

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (2020-)

Latest Publications

View My Publications


Research Overview

I carry out research into British art of the early modern period (c.1550-1750), with a major strand of my work focusing on the interplay between printed images, propaganda and polemic across the seventeenth century. My monograph Unseemly Pictures: Graphic Satire and Politics in Early Modern England (Yale University Press) redresses an established art historical bias privileging genres such as elite portraiture over printed media, and challenges the presence of a pervasive 'iconophobia' in post-Reformation English culture.

Most recently, I've written on popular prints in Shakespearean England, the use of printed images as propaganda during the Exclusion Crisis of the 1680s, and on English portraiture of the Interregnum period. 

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Art History.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me



Art History

Accepting PhDs

Research Specialisms

  • History of Art
  • Drawing
  • Printmaking
  • British History

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

I'm currently working on two projects: a history of British political caricature, from the seventeenth-century to the present day (for Reaktion Books) and a study examining the artistic activities and cultural networking of the late seventeenth-century group known as the 'York Virtuosi'. The latter is connected to research I've already published into the amateur artists William Lodge and Francis Place.

 Page from Mary Darly, A Book of Caricaturas (1762)         Francis Place, Studies of Waterfowl, c.1700

(left) Mary Darly, page from A Book of Caricaturas, 1762.

(right) Francis Place, Studies of Waterfowl, c.1700.

Both images © The Trustees of the British Museum, via a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Creative Commons licence.


Knowledge Exchange

You can read about my work on the sketching tours of Francis Place on the 'Curious Travellers' and British Society for Eighteenth-Century studies websites:




My current supervision areas are: History.

Kirsty Haslam, "An Investigation into the social context and cultural impact of warfare in late medieval and early modern Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire", co-supervised with Dr Alastair Macdonald, AHRC funded, 2019-present. 

Wendy McGlashan, "'A new species of liberty': John Kay’s Edinburgh portraits, 1781-1822", co-supervised with Professor John Morrison, Carnegie Trust funded, PhD thesis submitted 2019.

Funding and Grants

2015                 Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Research Support Grant

2008                 Institute for Historical Research, Scouloudi Historical Award

2007                 Huntington Library, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship

2006                 Folger Shakespeare Library, Short-Term Fellowship

2005                 Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Postdoctoral Fellowship

2000-2003         Arts and Humanities Reseach Board Doctoral Award


Teaching Responsibilities

I will be on research leave during the second semester of the 2021-22 academic year. 

Non-course Teaching Responsibilities

School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, Student Journey Lead

History of Art Student Engagement and Employability Officer

History of Art Library Representative

History of Art Social Media Officer

Elected member of the University Senate, 2014-18


Page 1 of 2 Results 1 to 10 of 16

  • Francis Place (1647-1728) and his Collection of Works on Paper

    Pierce, H.
    Journal of the History of Collections, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 29-41
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Review of "The Birth of Modern Political Satire: Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708) and the Glorious Revolution" by Meredith McNeill Hale

    Pierce, H.
    Journal of Social History
    Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
  • The Bold Adventure of All: Reconstructing the Place of Portraits in Interregnum England

    Pierce, H.
    British Art Studies, no. 16
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The devil and the detail: an illustration of otherness in John Nalson's 'An Impartial Collection'

    Pierce, H. S.
    Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 95, no. 2, pp. 63-81
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Graphic Satire and the Printed Image in Shakespeare's London

    Pierce, H.
    The Oxford Handbook of the Age of Shakespeare. Smuts, R. M. (ed.). Oxford University Press, pp. 724-747, 24 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • '"This Ingenious young Gent and excellent artist": William Lodge (1649-1689) and the York Virtuosi'

    Pierce, H.
    Court, Country, City. Hallett, M., Llewellyn, N., Myrone, M. (eds.). Yale University Press, pp. 313-334, 22 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Text and image: William Marshall's frontispiece to the Eikon Basilike (1649)

    Pierce, H.
    Censorship Moments. Kemp, G. (ed.). Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 79-86, 8 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • The Public Face of Early Modern England Artfully Revealed

    Pierce, H. S.
    Reviews in History, vol. 1421
    Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
  • All ‘sorts of pictures of stories’: the print in early modern England

    Pierce, H. S.
    Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 74, no. 4, pp. 629-633
    Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
  • Images, representation, and counter-representation

    Pierce, H. S.
    The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture. Volume 1. Raymond, J. (ed.). Oxford University Press, pp. 263-279, 17 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters


Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals