Dr Helen Pierce
Dr Helen Pierce

Dr Helen Pierce

BA, MA, PhD, FHEA, FSA Scot

Senior Lecturer

Accepting PhDs

About

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

Biography

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

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 History, Art History.


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

Email Me

History

Supervising
Accepting PhDs

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:

www.curioustravellers.ac.uk/en/francis-place-1647-1728-and-his-early-sketches-of-wales/

www.bsecs.org.uk/criticks-reviews/found-and-lost-francis-place-1647-1728-in-scotland/

I've delivered public lectures on Francis Place for the National Gallery of Ireland, Fairfax House in York, and Hospitalfield, Arbroath

Supervision

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

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 Engagement and Employability Lead

Art History Student Engagement and Employability Officer

Art History Social Media Officer

Elected member of the University Senate, 2014-18

Publications

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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals