Elizabeth L'Estrange

Member of GEMCA

Université de Liège
Scientific Research Worker, Art History

Research fields
  • Books of Hours, printed and manuscript; devotional books
  • The application of Gender Studies and Visual Studies to late medieval and early modern art
  • The history/historiography of the (female) gaze
  • Art at the French court in the 15th and 16th Centuries; women’s patronage in France and Burgundy
  • Material culture of childbearing in Italy and Northern Europe, 14th-16th Centuries

My research focuses on three, interrelated areas: illuminated manuscripts, especially Books of Hours; women’s patronage in France and Burgundy; and the application of gender and visual studies to medieval and early modern works of art. In 2008 I published my doctoral thesis (University of Leeds, UK), Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages, Manchester University Press. This interdisciplinary study offers a reformulation of Michael Baxandall’s ‘period eye’ as a way of analysing how images of holy mothers and childbearing in Books of Hours were received and interpreted by aristocratic women. I have pursued this interest in Books of Hours and the gendering of the gaze, first with a Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad fellowship (ULg, 2004-2006), then with an F.R.S.-FNRS post-doctoral fellowship (ULg, 2007-2010). In particular, I have explored the tournament (in its literary and artistic representations) as a space in which traditional constructions of gendered viewing (masculine-subject/feminine-object) may be reconsidered. I am also pursuing my research into Books of Hours, considering how this fifteenth-century phenomenon came to embody the technological and religious changes of the sixteenth century. Related to this, I am working on a major study of Claude de France and the origins of the pre-Reform in France with my colleague Kathleen Wilson-Chevalier (American University of Paris).

Academic networks

Prizes and Distinctions

  • Grant from the Fondation Darchis for a three-month research trip to Rome (April-June 2011)
  • May 2010: First Book Prize, Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship, for Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages
  • 2006: Publication subventions from the Medieval Academy of America, the Newberry Library, Chicago, and the Institute for Historical Research, London

Teaching Interests

My teaching interests focus on late medieval and early modern art in France, Burgundy and Italy, especially constructions of the Renaissance, medieval illuminated manuscripts, women’s patronage, and the social and political functions of religious art. I have also taught courses on medieval English and comparative literature, gender studies, and British Civilisation. I have supervised final year students on literary and art historical subjects at the Universities of Liège and Birmingham.

Most representative publications

Representing Medieval Genders and Sexualities in Europe: Construction, Transformation, and Subversion 600-1530, ed. by Elizabeth L’Estrange and Alison More (Aldershot: Ashgate, in press)

‘Gazing at Gawain: Reconsidering Tournaments, Courtly Love, and the Lady Who Looks’, Medieval Feminist Forum, 42, 2009, pp. 74-96

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

‘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 and Documents, ed. by Cynthia Brown (Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2010), pp. 81-98

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

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