Dr Katie Bank

Department of History
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Katie Bank is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Birmingham researching musical-visual culture in early modern England. Her research reflects an interdisciplinary attention to the role of music and music making within the intellectual history of early modern England, particularly music's intersection with natural philosophy, the passions, and concepts of sense perception. She has published articles in journals such as Early Music, Renaissance Studies, and The Hakluyt Society Journal, and has recently published her first book, Knowledge Building in Early Modern English Music (Routledge, 2020).


  • 2016 Doctor of Philosophy, Royal Holloway University of London (musicology)  
  • 2012 Master of Music, King's College London (musicology)                            
  • 2007 Master of Teaching, University of Southern California (education)     
  • 2005 Bachelor of Arts, Bowdoin College (history and music double major, English literature minor)


Katie's research has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the National Endowment for the Humanities (USA), the AHRC, and the Reid Scholarship. In 2019, she was a long-term Fellow at the Newberry Library and in 2020, she won the Hakluyt Society Essay Prize for her piece on travel literature and Thomas Weelkes's madrigal 'Thule, the period of Cosmographie'.

A native of California, Katie spent several years as a full-time music teacher and arts administrator before her life as a musicologist and continues to draw liberally from this foundation in her work in higher education. In addition to Birmingham, she has taught undergraduates and/or postgraduates at the University of Oxford (Magdalen, Lady Margaret Hall, Oriel, Somerville), UCL (MA in Early Modern Exchange), and Royal Holloway, with guest lectures at University of Surrey, Imperial College, and De Paul University.

Supervised by Dr Helen Deeming (RHUL) and Professor Lisa Jardine (UCL), Katie completed her doctoral studies at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2016 and was examined by Regius Professor Julian Johnson and Professor Richard Wistreich. She collaborates regularly with colleagues at the Courtauld Gallery, the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (UCL), and various choral ensembles around London. Katie is also an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield.


  • Making of the Modern World
  • Group Research (Women and the English Civil War)


'Musical-Visual Culture in Early Modern England' marks the first dedicated study of depictions of music making in late-Elizabethan, early-Stuart England. It will not only deepen our understanding of early modern emotion but revise narratives about the role of aesthetic experience in seventeenth century intellectual history. For historiographical reasons, art historians and musicologists have yet to analyse together the large body of song and visual culture that explores shared metaphysical topoi, including sensing, dreaming, and love. Focusing on song and musical imagery, my project contributes to our understanding of how visual and auditory sensing built interiority in the home and the self.

My first piece of published work from this larger project is "(Re)Creating the Eglantine Table". The Eglantine Table at Hardwick Hall (c.1568) was probably crafted to commemorate marriages made between the Hardwick-Cavendish and Talbot families. In addition to various heraldic symbols, the table’s friezes depict gaming paraphernalia, thirteen musical instruments, and several music books, including a stacked score of a devotional song perhaps by Thomas Tallis’s 'O Lord in Thee is all my trust'.

While there is thorough existing scholarship on what the Eglantine Table depicts, this article explores what can be inferred about the contemporary value of musical recreation from how meaning was produced in the table’s iconography using a ‘material approach’ to music as both an object and also a sounding body. This article demonstrates why recreation, including music making, is defined most prominently by why people choose to engage in it and the human actions that make recreation happen. Viewed in this fresh light, the Eglantine Table, including its musical iconography and notation, offers insight into the meaning of musical recreation and the values that shaped domestic interiors, objects, and social bonds in an early modern English aristocratic home.


Recent publications


Bank, K 2020, Knowledge Building in Early Modern English Music. Routledge, New York.


Bank, K 2023, '“Amphions Harp gaue sence vnto stone Walles”: The Five Senses and Musical–Visual Affect', Arts, vol. 12, no. 5, 219. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts12050219

Bank, K 2020, ''Truth and Travel: The Principal Navigations and ‘Thule, the period of cosmographie'’', Hakluyt Society Journal.

Bank, K 2020, '(Re)creating the Eglantine Table', Early Music. https://doi.org/10.1093/em/caaa051

Bank, K 2016, ''Dialogues of Byrd and Sidney: performing incompleteness'', Renaissance Studies, vol. 31, pp. 407-425. https://doi.org/doi: 10.1111/rest.12224

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Bank, K 2019, 'Fantastic Spirits': Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes. in K Butler & S Bassler (eds), Music, Myth, and Story in Medieval and Early Modern Culture. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music, no. 19, Boydell Press, Woodbridge, pp. 207-223.

Book/Film/Article review

Bank, K 2021, 'Linda Phyllis Austern. Both from the Ears and Mind: Thinking about Music in Early Modern England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020. Pp. 384. $55.00 (cloth)', Journal of British Studies, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 691-693. https://doi.org/10.1017/jbr.2021.21

View all publications in research portal