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Title: The visual language of kingship, 1640-1653
Author: Wyn-Williams, Rhian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 1040
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis seeks to offer a re-evaluation of the nature of political culture in England during the years of civil war through the use of visual material. There exists a rich body of pictorial evidence and yet it is frequently overlooked completely or used very selectively to illustrate conclusions reached through close studies of other source material, particularly popular print. However, this thesis takes as its starting point the intensely visual nature of early modern political and popular culture and utilises material as wide-ranging as court portraiture, satirical woodcuts and objects such as coins and medallions. By focusing in particular on the visual language of idealised kingship which developed under Charles l, this thesis will question the existence of the bi-polar model of political participation so frequently depicted in the historiography of the period by demonstrating the conservative and consensual nature of much of the imagery. Therefore, this study explores the manner in which a broad and popular audience responded to the pictorial depiction of their king as divine and as the fulcrum of social order. This makes it necessary to consider the manner in which the imagery of idealised kingship was disseminated outside the court, therefore placing it within the context of an increasingly politicised populace. Through this, the extent to which models of conflict and consensus could co-exist will be demonstrated, leading to an evaluation of the intrinsically conservative self-identification of the parliamentarian cause and of popular allegiance, particularly through the polemical constructs of 'cavalier' and 'roundhead '. It will be suggested that propagandist images of kingship became embedded in political culture because they reflected broadly accepted norms of social behaviour. This proves to be essential in understanding the influence of and the extent to which Charles I became the personification of the body politic, ultimately enabling his aura of sanctity to deepen during the wars and after the regicide, whilst hindering the possibility of the Rump establishing its own distinctive imagery of political authority. By offering an alternative body of evidence, this thesis seeks to demonstrate that the visual language of king ship became the language of social normality and authority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available