Lizzie Swarbrick's current research project centres on the art and architecture of the 15th century church of St Matthew in Roslin, Midlothian. Roslin (alternatively Rosslyn) has long intrigued visitors, and its place within the popular imagination of medieval Scotland has only increased in recent years due to appearances in fiction and film. However, despite its fame, this important medieval building has not previously been the subject of a sustained scholarly work. Yet Roslin remains an extraordinarily rich building for study, comprising a great deal of the figural sculpture to have survived from late medieval Scotland within an unusual, ambitious, and imposing building.
Roslin has long been seen as supremely idiosyncratic, but Lizzie's work connects the building's material culture with the wider cultural context of late medieval Scotland, Britain, and Europe. More specifically, her work on Roslin sheds light on issues surrounding the church's institutional history, its patronal involvement, audience, access, and the liturgical and musical performances it once housed. This focus on the working life of the church stems from Lizzie’s interest in the devotional and practical functions of medieval architecture, objects, and imagery. A public programme will run alongside her project on Roslin, beginning in 2018.
More broadly, Lizzie’s research interests include Gothic architecture, church furnishings, ecclesiastical ornaments and textiles, late medieval sculpture and painting, monumental marginalia, tombs, commemoration, medieval liturgy, pre-Reformation Scottish music, performance, Scottish history, and nationalisms.