Tudor Liveliness:
Vivid Art in Post-Reformation England

Christina J. Faraday

Publicaton Date
April 2023
Standard Number
Yale University Press
208 pages, 270 x 216 mm

In Tudor and Jacobean England, visual art was often termed ‘lively’. This word was used to describe the full range of visual and material culture – from portraits to funeral monuments, book illustrations to tapestry. To a modern viewer, this claim seems perplexing: what could ‘liveliness’ have meant in a culture with seemingly little appreciation for illusionistic naturalism? And in a period supposedly characterised by fear of idolatry, how could ‘liveliness’ have been a good thing? 
In this wide-ranging and innovative book, Christina Faraday excavates a uniquely Tudor model of vividness: one grounded in rhetorical techniques for creating powerful mental images for audiences. By drawing parallels with the dominant communicative framework of the day, Tudor Liveliness sheds new light on a lost mode of Tudor art criticism and appreciation, revealing how objects across a vast range of genres and contexts were taking part in the same intellectual and aesthetic conversations. By resurrecting a lost model for art theory, Faraday re-enlivens the vivid visual and material culture of Tudor and Jacobean England, recovering its original power to move, impress and delight.

About the author

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    Christina J. Faraday is an historian of art and ideas specialising in the Tudor period. She is a research fellow in history of art at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge and a BBC New Generation Thinker. She completed her AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Cambridge while working part-time as a curatorial intern at the National Portrait Gallery in London. She was recently a postdoctoral fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre. She regularly contributes to podcasts and popular media, including BBC Radio 3 and Apollo Magazine, and in 2021 she was shortlisted for the British Journalism Awards in the Arts and Entertainment category. She lectures for the History of Art Department and Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Cambridge and the Wallace Collection in London. Her first book, Tudor Liveliness: Vivid Art in Post-Reformation England, will be published by the Paul Mellon Centre this year.