Dr Elizabeth L'Estrange


Lecturer in History of Art

Department of Art History, Film and Visual Studies

Elizabeth L'Estrange

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


My work focuses on the art and culture of the late medieval and early modern period, especially illuminated manuscripts, French and Burgundian court art, text-image relations, and women as subjects and consumers of visual cultures.


BA MA PhD (University of Leeds)


Before joining the History of Art Department in 2011, I was based at the University of Liège in Belgium, where I held post-doctoral fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust (2004-2006) and the Fonds national de recherche scientifique (2007-2010). I have a BA in English Language and Literature, an MA in Medieval Studies, and a PhD in History of Art from the University of Leeds.


I teach across the Art History curriculum at Birmingham, including the first year course Ideas of the Renaissance, a second year module Power, Society, Politics: Religious Art in Northern Europe, c. 1400-1600, and a third year special subject module Women and Artistic Culture in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Periods.

This year I am convening the second year Research Techniques module and accompanying the second year students on the Study Trip. I am also contributing to the MA in Medieval Studies.

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students wishing to research areas that overlap with my research and teaching interests.


My research focuses mainly on the art and culture of the medieval and early modern periods (c. 1350-1600) with a particular emphasis on illuminated manuscripts and on questions of gender in visual culture. In 2008 I published Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Late Middle Ages  (MUP, 2008) which won the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship’s First Book Prize in 2010. This study of maternal imagery in books of hours owned by aristocratic women and its relationship to the material culture of childbearing has led to other articles on the patronage of women at the French court, including Anne of Brittany, Anne of France, and Claude of France.

I am currently working on an unknown book of hours from the mid sixteenth century housed in the University of Liège that is closely linked to the Bellemare workshop of illuminators. I am also working on an book length project on Claude of France with Kathleen Wilson-Chevalier from the American University of Paris entitled Re-Imagining France’s Good Queen Claude. In Holy Motherhood and in other articles on deschi da parto (birth trays) and carved ivory objects, I have also focused on the female gaze and methodological approaches to assessing women’s agency as viewers.

I am also interested in broader questions of gender and sexuality in the medieval and early modern periods, and have recently co-edited two collections of essays Re-Presenting Medieval Genders and Sexualities: Construction, Transformation (Ashgate, 2011) with Alison More, and Le mécénat féminin en France et en Bourgogne, XIVe-XVIe (a special issue of Le Moyen Age journal, 2011) with Laure Fagnart.

Other activities

At Birmingham, I am Undergraduate Admissions Tutor and Welfare Officer for undergraduate students in History of Art. I am also responsible for our website and our Facebook page.

I am a member of the advisory board of Renaissance Studies and an editorial assistant for the Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes. In addition, I regularly review books for journals, including Art History, Medieval Feminist Forum, Material Religion, and Bulletin du bibliophile and have also peer-reviewed books for Manchester University Press and Ashgate Publishing.

At Birmingham, I am involved in the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages; beyond Birmingham, I am a member of Transitions: Centre d’Etudes du moyen âge et de la première modernité (www.transitions.ulg.ac.be) and Femmes, Enseignement, Recherche, ULG (www.ferulg.ulg.ac.be) both at the University of Liège and the Group for Early Modern Cultural Analysis at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve (http://gemca.fltr.ucl.ac.be).



Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty, and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008)

Edited collections:

Co-editor, with Laure Fagnart, Le mécénat féminin en France et en Bourgogne, XIV-XVIe, special issue of the peer‐reviewed journal Le Moyen Âge, 117 (2011)

Co-editor, with Alison More, Representing European Genders and Sexualities, 600–1530: Construction, Transformation, and Subversion (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011); also available as an e-book

Journal articles and book chapters

‘Re-presenting the Teseida for a Queen: Anne de Graville’s Beau roman for Claude of France (Arsenal MS 5116)’, in Text-Image Relations in Late Medieval French Culture, ed. by Rosalind Brown-Grant and Rebecca Dixon (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming 2014)

‘Beyond the 1520s: A Bellemare Group Manuscript in Liège, MS Witter 29?’, in the proceedings of Reinventing Traditions – On the Transmission of Artistic Patterns in Late Medieval Manuscript Illumination, Quarternio Verlag Luzern, forthcoming 2013

Co-author, with Rachel Dressler, Marian Bleeke, Jennifer Borland and Martha Easton, ‘Artistic Representations’, in A Cultural History of Women in the Medieval Era, ed. by K. M. Phillips (London: Berg, forthcoming 2012)

‘Topsy-Turvy Gender Relations in Fifteenth‐Century Italian Households’, in Representing European Genders and Sexualities, 600–1530: Construction, Transformation, and Subversion, ed. by A. More and E. L’Estrange (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011), p. 128-44

‘“Quant femme enfante…”: remèdes et charmes pour l’accouchement au Moyen Âge’, in Femmes en Fleurs: Santé, Sexualité et Génération du Moyen Âge aux Lumières, ed. by C. McClive and N. Pellegrin (St‐Étienne: Presse Universitaire de St‐Étienne, 2010), pp. 167‐83

‘Penitence, Motherhood and Passion Devotion: Contextualising Anne of Brittany’s Prayer Book, Chicago, Newberry Library, MS 83’, in The Cultural and Political Legacy of Anne de Bretagne: Negotiating Convention in Books & Documents, ed. by C. Brown (Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2010), pp. 81‐98

‘Gazing at Gawain: Reconsidering Tournaments, Courtly Love, and the Lady Who Looks’, Medieval Feminist Forum, 42 (2009), 74‐96

‘Images de maternité sainte dans deux livres appartenant aux duchesses de Bretagne’, in Livres et lectures des femmes: Entre moyen âge et renaissance, ed. by A.‐M. Legaré (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), pp. 35‐47

‘Sainte Anne et le mécénat d’Anne de France’, in Patronnes et mécènes en France à la Renaissance, ed. by K. Wilson‐Chevalier (St‐Étienne: Presse Universitaire de St‐Étienne, 2007), pp. 135‐54

‘Le mécénat d’Anne de Bretagne’, in Patronnes et mécènes en France à la Renaissance, ed. by K. Wilson‐Chevalier (St‐Étienne: Presse Universitaire de St‐Étienne, 2007), pp. 169‐94

‘Anna peperit Mariam, Elizabeth Johannem, Maria Christum: Images of Childbirth in Late‐Medieval Manuscripts’, in Manuscripts in Transition: Recycling Manuscripts, Texts and Images, ed. by B. Dekeyzer and J. Van der Stock (Leuven: Peeters, 2005), pp. 335‐46

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