CFP: Heraldry in Medieval and Early Modern State-Rooms: Towards a Typology of Heraldic Programmes in Spaces of Self-Representation

Deadline:  15 December 2015

Münster, Germany

16-18 March 2016

Heraldry was an ubiquitous element of state-rooms. Whether in palaces of kings and princes, castles of noblemen, residences of patricians, city halls or in cathedral chapters, heraldic display was a crucial element in the visual programme of these spaces. Despite its omnipresence, however, heraldic display in state-rooms remains largely understudied so far.

Given the fundamental role of heraldry in medieval and early modern visual communication, it seems essential to incorporate the study of heraldry into our understanding of the state-rooms and their functions. The heraldic programmes appear to have been intimately tied to the functions of those rooms and the strategies of self-representation and communication employed by commissioners and users of such places.

This workshop aims to explore these heraldic programmes in state-rooms in medieval and early modern Europe and to suggest an initial typology of this phenomenon. We would like to include case studies showcasing different social and institutional examples. In the context of the workshop, we understand state-rooms to be rooms used for ceremonies and receptions, and spaces able to construct and express identity that were meant to be witnessed by members of a community itself as well as by outsiders.

Heraldry in state-rooms was displayed in a variety of media, including, but not limited to, paintings, stained-glass, sculptures, tiles, tapestries, curtains, furniture. As part of ceremonies, it also appeared as ephemeral decor. The topics of such heraldic programmes were diverse. They could represent genealogical, chivalric, legendary as well as historical and commemorative themes, reflect political networks and convey political and imaginary ideas.

We particularly welcome comparative papers on the heraldic display of state-rooms and groups of state-rooms from different geographical, social and institutional contexts. Rather than only identifying the displayed coats of arms, contributions should address the heraldic ensembles in their entirety and locate them in their specific social and institutional contexts, aiming to further our understanding of the functions of heraldic display in the state-rooms and their visual programme.

Papers can be presented in English or French. Proposals (200 words in French or English) should be sent to by 15 December 2015.

The workshop is organised by Miguel Metelo de Seixas (Lisbon) and Torsten Hiltmann (Münster) as part of the Portuguese-German research project “In the Service of the Crown: The Use of Heraldry in Royal Political Communication in Late Medieval Portugal”, funded by the VolkswagenFoundation.