Dr Philippa Woodcock

Biography content


Lecturer in European History, FRHistS

Philippa Woodcock

I am a historian of early modern European history and visual culture. My interests cover the European Reformation, landscape and fashion history, as well as political and cultural interchange, especially between France and Italy.

I completed my PhD in 2006 under the supervision of Professor Evelyn Welch at QMUL. Entitled ‘The Forgotten Patrons: the French governors of Milan, 1499-1522’, this considered the political and artistic rivalry between mercenaries and governors during France’s first period of colonial rule. This was followed by a 3-year postdoctoral research post for the ‘Parish Church and the Landscape’ AHRC funded project, directed by Professor Andrew Spicer, which in itself led to six years of life in France!

I joined the Centre for History in June 2018, following academic appointments at the Universities of Warwick, Oxford Brookes, Birkbeck CCE, Sussex and at the OU. I have also taught History, English and Politics at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris, and at the Université de Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée.

Research and Supervision content

Research and Supervision

Research and Supervision

My current research follows several paths, reflecting my dual interests in political and religious history.

Firstly, I am very interested in the experience in the past of being in a foreign land, not entirely different to one’s own, yet where slight cultural differences create havoc. For example, if it was entirely possible for a diplomat to learn the etiquette of another court, his household’s foreignness still made it vulnerable before the law, prey to the unscrupulous and apt to appear gauche at moments of ceremonial. A governor, otherwise successful, may never be accepted due to his faulty language skills.

Having published several chapters on this theme, I am now developing work on cultural gaps experienced by foreign women in childbirth.

Secondly, I am still in thrall to the relationship between religion, the physical landscape and material culture in early modern France. Having published on iconoclasm, fortification and the re-use of sacred objects in Northern France, I am now interested in tracing the paths through the British Isles of several Huguenot ministers in the post-Revocation period, and their transfer of technology, culture and objects to their families and congregations.

I would welcome research students in a broad range of early modern religious, political and cultural history.

Director of Studies

  • Frances Liddle, Governance and Diplomacy, the Anglo-Scottish Border, the East and Middle Marches 1489-1560 (2022-)
Publications content



Books (Co-authored)

Co-authored text, M. Baudlis, E. Angus and P. Woodcock, The Fashion Dictionary: a visual resource for terms, techniques and styles, (Carlton, 2015). (Published in the USA as The Fashion Encyclopaedia)

Peer-reviewed articles

From Royal Hôtel to Street Brawls: The Location, Personnel and Public Problems of the Venetian Embassy in Seventeenth Century Paris’, Legatio: The Journal for Renaissance and Early Modern Diplomatic Studies 2017 (1): 63-95

Philippe Dupont (1658-1728). De Saint-Claud en Angoumois à Assington dans le Suffolk’, Bulletin de la Société Archéologique et Historique de la Charente, 2017: 73-89 (translated by Jacques Baudet)

‘Queenly Poverty; the Justified Impoverishment of Elizabeth Woodville and Catherine of Aragon’, Envisioning Poverty/Concevoir la pauvreté: Mémoire et Territoires/LISAA, ed. William Dow, (2016)

Living like a king: the Milanese entourage of Odet de Foix, vicomte de Lautrec’, The Royal Studies Journal, December 2015, vol.2:2.

‘The Rural Counter-Reformation: Patrons, Regional Styles and Rural Art’, Church History and Religious Culture, 2014 (94): 22-49.

‘The Fortified Parish Church: Pacification, Protection or Provocation during the French Wars of Religion?’, French History, 2010: 524-549.

Awarded the Nancy Lyman Roelker Prize for the best article in the History of France at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference in St Louis in 2011.

Chapters in edited volumes

‘Heraldry and Regime Change. The Trivulzio Chapel at San Nazaro, Milan, 1499-1522’, in Heraldry in the City, Julia Hartmann and Torsten Hiltmann eds., (Patmos, to appear 2023).

‘The ambassadors’ fireworks party: public and private displays in Bourbon Paris’, in The Performance of Diplomacy, Suna Suner ed., (Vienna: Hollitzer, forthcoming 2023).

‘Fire and water on the Seine: the Venetian Ambassador’s Fireworks Party’, in L'eau et le feu dans les représentations du pouvoir dans l'Europe moderne, Dénes Harai and Gaelle Lafage eds., (Les Indes Savantes, forthcoming Dec. 2023).

With Hannes Ziegler, ‘Emotions and Diplomacy’ in Early Modern European Diplomacy eds. Lena Oetzel & Dorothée Goetze, (Berlin: De Gruyter, Nov.2023)

‘L’Ambition de l’Espagnol: Fireworks and Frontiers in Early Bourbon Paris’, in Fluctuating Alliances: Art, Politics and Diplomacy in the Modern Era, ed. Pilar Diez del Corral Corredoira (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021) pp.127-143.

‘Early Modern Monarchy and Foreign Travel’, in The History of Monarchy, Dean, Jones, Rohr and Woodacre eds., (London: Routledge, 2019).

‘Huguenot and non-Conformist networks: Philip Dupont in late Stuart Suffolk’, in Huguenot Networks, Vivienne Larminie ed., (London: Routledge, 2017), pp.137-153.

‘A matter of time and decency: death and burial in early modern Maine’, in Managing Time: Literature and Devotion in Early Modern France, Richard Maber and Joanna Barker eds., (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2017), pp.227-259.

‘Patrician and Episcopal rivalry for the Milanese parish church: San Nazaro in Brolo during French and Spanish rule’, in The Parish Church in the Early Modern World, Andrew Spicer ed., (Farnham: Ashgate, 2016), pp.31-52.

‘Was original best? Refitting the churches of the diocese of Le Mans during the French Wars of Religion’, in The Archaeology of Post-Medieval Religion, Chris King and Duncan Sayer eds., (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2012), pp.39-54.

General Interest Works

Contributor of 25 essays on the social and cultural history of fashion to Marnie Fogg ed., Fashion: The Whole Story, (London: Thames & Hudson, 2013).


Translation from French of Denis Crouzet: ‘From Christ-like King to Antichristian Tyrant: A First Crisis of the Monarchical Image at the Time of Francis I’, Past & Present, 214, suppl.7, 1 January 2012: 220–240.


Tessa Murdoch, Europe Divided. Huguenot Refugee Art and Culture (V&A Publishing, London, 2021) Huguenot Society Journal (2022)

Jeanne d'Albret: Letters from the Queen of Navarre with an Ample Declaration, Edited by Kathleen M. Llewellyn and Emily E. Thompson et al. (Tempe: Iter Academic Press, 2016) Huguenot Society Journal (2019)

Dolly MacKinnon, Earls Colne’s Early Modern Landscapes (Ashgate, 2015): The Journal of the Northern Renaissance (2016).

Jessica Munns, Penny Roberts and Jonathan Spangler eds., Aspiration, Representation and Memory: The Guise in Europe, 1506-1688 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015): Royal Studies Journal (May 2016).

Alison Forrestal and Eric Nelson eds., Politics and Religion in Early Bourbon France (Basingstoke: Macmillan Palgrave, 2009): Reformation and Renaissance Review 10 (December 2008).

Michael Wintroub, A Savage Mirror. Power, Identity and Knowledge in Early Modern France (Stanford University Press, 2006): Journal of the History of Collections, 19 (2007).

Teaching content



I teach on the following modules:

  • UV207228: What is history?
  • UV208493: A Curious Age: European Society and Culture, c.1500-1750
  • UV208494: Historians and History
  • UV309733: Cultural Centres and Economic Powerhouses: Amsterdam, Hamburg and London during the Early Modern Period
  • UL309736: Dynastic Decline and Religious Violence: Valois France 1550-1610
  • UV209804: Public History
  • UV210824: Dissertation (History)
  • UV211981: Primary Sources in History
  • UR811000: Renaissance Venice: lagoon, city and empire
  • UR911000: Royal power, propaganda and performance
Additional activities content

Additional activities

Additional activities

Key Internal Positions of Responsibility

REF 2027 Management Committee History

SGSAH History Panel Catalyst

Editorial Responsibilities & Consultancies

Co-Editor of The Court Historian, the International Journal for Court Studies

Assistant book reviews editor and peer reviewer, Royal Studies Journal

Peer-reviewer for French History, Huguenot Society Journal, Royal Studies Journal, Renaissance Hub

Peer reviewer and member of the comité de lecture for State-Rooms of Royal and Princely Palaces

Consultant for Piero della Francesca, Tim Marlow’s Great Artists series, Channel 4, 2004

External Positions of Esteem & Service

External Examiner, University of Limerick and Mary Immaculate College

SGSAH Discipline Catalyst for History

Committee Member of the Society for the History of War

Conference Organisation

Organising Committee Member for Royal Studies Network Kings and Queens 10 (2021)

Assistant Organiser, Le Personnage de Gauvain, two-day conference in March 2013, Universite de Paris-Est Marne la Vallee

Organiser, The Parish Church and the Landscape, a series of six public lectures in conjunction with the SPAB, Churches Conservation Trust and Oxford Preservation Trust, Oxford, 2009

Co-Organiser, The Early Modern Parish Church, two-day conference in 2008, Worcester College, Oxford

Co-Organiser, The Material Renaissance, two-day conference in 2003, University of Sussex