I am currently completing a study of dynastic marriage and the diplomatic and cultural role of elite women in Renaissance Italy. This project investigates the role of princely consorts, and the political significance of marital and female friendship, within the Renaissance courtly state of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. It focuses on the well-documented union of Isabella d’Este and Francesco Gonzaga, marquis of the Italian principality of Mantua and will demonstrate how the close collaboration between man and wife in the dynastic marriages, typical of Renaissance states and courts all over Europe, made an essential contribution to the functioning, self-definition and success of these political entities in a way that has not been recognized by traditional analysis of the Italian Renaissance state.

I am also involved in an ARC-funded research project focused on the history of the European letter with particular emphasis on women’s use of the letter between the 14th-16th centuries.

Areas of Research & Supervision

I am keen to supervise projects in medieval and renaissance history, especially cultural and social history. My specific interests are Italian and other European courts in the early modern period, vernacular Italian texts and proto-feminist writings of the 15th and 16th centuries as well as the history of gender, travel, letter-writing and friendship. Beyond this I am also able to supervise projects on European letter-writing from the late medieval period and literary production connected to female patronage in early modern France and England.