Catriona Murray is a historian of early modern British visual and material culture. Her research focuses on the intersections of art and propaganda during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. In particular, she is interested in the exchanges between ruler and subject, exploring how images of authority were promoted and received.
Her first monograph, Imaging Stuart Family Politics: Dynastic Crisis and Continuity (2016), explores the promotion of familial propaganda under the Stuarts. Bringing together royal ritual, court portraiture and popular prints, it argues that dynastic and domestic representations were strategically developed to endorse political agendas. Imaging Stuart Family Politics was awarded the 2017 Royal Studies Journal Book Prize. Catriona is also developing a new research programme, which considers the Stuarts’ involved relationship with the monumental image, analysing how sculpture served to mediate royal authority, public loyalty and political opposition. In January 2020, she took up a Paul Mellon Mid-Career Fellowship to pursue this project.
Catriona joined the department as Lecturer in 2015. Originally from Aberdeen, she moved to Edinburgh to study for the MA in Fine Art, before pursuing a Masters and PhD in History of Art. Her work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Institute of Historical Research (University of London); the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (University of Edinburgh); the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (Yale University in London); the Henry Moore Foundation; the Huntington Library; and Funds for Women Graduates. Catriona has developed close working relationships and collaborations with a number of UK museums and galleries and is currently academic advisor to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s project on King James VI and I.
Catriona’s teaching is directly influenced by her research and introduces students to key issues in the relationships between art, politics and society in sixteenth-, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain.
Her third-year special options course, Picturing Authority: Art and Politics at the Tudor and Stuart Courts, explores the visual representation of power through close study of royal portraiture, decorative schemes, public statuary, printed ephemera and court spectacle.
Her fourth-year special options course, Cradle to Grave: Art and Society in Britain from Holbein to Hogarth, examines the representation of gender, the life cycle, religion, status and nationality across a range of media, assessing how early modern men and women defined their social relationships and fashioned their identities.
She also lectures on Northern Renaissance and Baroque art for History of Art 1 and contributes to the department’s team-taught MSc courses.
Visual and material culture in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain