PRIVACY Book launch: Danish-British Consort Portraiture

Centre for Privacy Studies is proud to announce and celebrate the new book Danish-British Consort Portraiture by PRIVACY guest researcher Sara Ayres.

About the book:

This is the first book to address the long art history of dynastic marriage exchange between Denmark and Britain between 1600 and 1900. It explores an intersection of three themes trending in early modern studies: portraiture, gender and the court as a centre of cultural exchange. This work re-evaluates the construction and staging of gender in Northern consort portraiture over

a span of 300 years, examining the development of the scientific and social paradigms inflecting consort portraiture and representation, with a view

to excavating portrait images’ agency at the early modern moment of their conception and making. The consort’s liminal position between royal houses, territories, languages and sometimes religion, has often been equated with political weakness, but this new work argues that this position endowed the consort with a unique space for innovation in the representation of elite identity. As such, consort imagery drew upon gender as a generative resource of motifs and ideas. Each chapter is informed by new archival research and introduces the reader to little-known, yet astonishing works of art. Collectively, they seek to trace a shift in practices of identity formation over time; the transition from an emphasis on rank to an increasingly binary emphasis on gender.

Sara Ayres  obtained her doctorate in Art History from Birkbeck College, University of London, in 2012. She has published in the Oxford Art Journal, the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art and the Court Historian. Between 2016 and 2018 she held the position of the Queen Margarethe II Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Recent publications include Sculpture and the Nordic Region, 2017.

‘A fascinating and important book that offers compelling new historical and theoretical insights into the processes of royal image-making and, crucially, opens  up the complex history of Anglo-Danish cultural and political relations over three  centuries. This is a major contribution to discussions of art, identity, and power.’ Professor Michael Hatt, Department of History of Art, University of Warwick



  • Welcome by Centre Director Mette Birkedal Bruun
  • Interview with Author Sara Ayres
  • Wine Reception

Register for the book launch here