Philippa Woodcock


  • IV25 3HN

    United Kingdom

  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile

Research Expertise

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 am also one of the editors of The Court Historian. The International Journal of Court Studies, the journal of The Society for Court Studies.

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 working in French universities and research 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, at the Université de Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée and the Université du Maine.

Details of the modules I teach

Research links

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 aim to develop a research project about such vulnerability among French sailors and consuls in the early modern Mediterranean, and their exploitation by competing powers.

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.

Academia Profile

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The Forgotten Patrons: the French governors of Milan, 1499-1522, Queen Mary University of London

External positions

Lecturer, University of St Andrews

29 Aug 2022 → …


  • DC France
  • DG Italy
  • D111 Medieval History


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