Picturing Music in the English Renaissance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Music in the early modern period was profoundly visual. This is not simply in terms of the spectacle of performance, in masques, court entertainments and the playhouses, but also because music became a ‘read’ thing for the first time. This article seeks to bridge the gap between the ways in which renaissance England is understood by art history, and the ways in which it is understood by musicology. In so doing, it aims to establish a dialogue between these methodologies. The English Renaissance was a period of great musical innovation, spawning the works of John Taverner, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons amongst others, despite the religious upheavals of the Reformation and Marian counterreformations. However in art history it is still largely seen as a cultural backwater. This article argues that, on the contrary, music is a crucial source of visual interest in the English Renaissance.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Art Studies
Issue number23
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Mar 2021