Dr Meredith Hale
Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture (E&R)
I received my PhD from Columbia University in New York and was the Speelman Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge, from 2009 to 2018. I joined Exeter as a lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture in 2019. I am a specialist in Netherlandish art of the early modern period (c. 1550-1700). My research interests include: early modern print culture, particularly political satire and international print markets; the 'Glorious Revolution' and reception of Netherlandish art; and issues related to material culture and the reception of works of art. My first book, The Birth of Modern Political Satire: Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708) and the Glorious Revolution, was published by Oxford University Press in September 2020.
I was awarded a Research Fellowship from The Leverhulme Trust (2023-24) to write my second book on a series of oil sketches by Anthony van Dyck (Boughton House, Northamptonshire) for his famous print series known as The Iconography.
I am Principal Organiser of the Historians of Netherlandish Art (HNA) conference, ‘Britain and the Low Countries: cultural exchange past, present & future’, London and Cambridge (10-13 July 2024)
My current research focuses on early modern print culture in the Netherlands.
My first book, The Birth of Modern Political Satire: Romeyn de Hooghe and the Glorious Revolution (OUP, 2020), documents one of the most important moments in the history of printed political imagery, when the political print became what we would recognise as modern political satire. Contrary to conventional historical and art historical narratives, which place the emergence of political satire in the news-driven coffee-house culture of eighteenth-century London, I locate the birth of the genre in the late seventeenth-century Netherlands in the contentious political milieu surrounding William III’s invasion of England known as the Glorious Revolution. The satires produced between 1688 and 1690 by the Dutch printmaker Romeyn de Hooghe (1645–1708) on the events surrounding William III’s campaigns against James II and Louis XIV establish many of the qualities that define the genre to this day: the transgression of bodily boundaries; the interdependence of text and image; the centrality of dialogic text to the generation of meaning; serialized production; and the emergence of the satirist as a primary participant in political discourse. De Hooghe’s satires are seen as critical sites of cultural influence and negotiation which both reflected and helped to construct a new relationship between the government and the governed. His subjects are remarkably modern: the dangers of absolutist regimes; the fear of amalgamation in a larger union; the insecurity of trade; and the fear of foreign influence and cultural dilution.
My current book project focuses on a series of thirty-seven oil sketches by Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), which have been in a single private collection since 1682 (now at Boughton House, Northamptonshire). These small grisailles were produced by Van Dyck and members of his studio in preparation for his print series, Icones principum virorum, portraits of the artist’s contemporaries in three different arenas: princes and military leaders; scholars and statesmen; and artists and connoisseurs. My study combines archival research and scientific analysis of the panels (dendrochronology) with a consideration of their function, their place in the contemporary art market, and the nature of early modern studio practice. Broader issues framing the study include: the nature of representation and classification, the politics of status in the early modern period, and the problem of medium specificity.
I am a member of the collaborative research group, Eco-Brain: Cognitive Humanities Environmental Approaches to Climate Change (University of Exeter and Duke University).
I was Principal Investigator for the AHRC Networking Grant, ‘The Power of Print: Dutch Propaganda for a new Russia’ (2013-2015), a collaboration with the University of Amsterdam and the State Hermitage Museum which examined Tsar Peter I's use of Dutch models and technology to establish a school of Russian etching in 1698.
I welcome research proposals on any subject related to my research interests and expertise, among them:
Netherlandish art, c. 1500-1700
Early Modern print culture
Political propaganda and satire
Fangxu Sun, 'The political discourse of Chinese visual parody art after the reform and opening-up' (Co-supervised with Dr Yue Zhuang)
Jia Liu, 'Western influences on the development of early-modern print culture in China – political satire in late Qing Period' (China Scholarship Council-funded, co-supervised with Dr Yue Zhuang)
Yining Fu, 'Architectural Heritage Conservation in China: Historical Development from 1840-1949' (working project title, China Scholarship Council-funded, supervision 2023-2024 for Dr Sabrina Rahman)
I-Hsiu Chung, Unveiling the Enigma: The Mermaid's Tale as a Gateway to Exploring Dutch-Taiwanese Cultural Encounters in the Seventeenth Century and the Role of the 'Other' in Western Literature (MA)
External impact and engagement
My research is featured in 'The ridiculous to the sublime', in CAM: Cambridge Alumni Magazine (Issue 95), 15 June 2022:
For a profile of my research on the University of Exeter website, see 'The Glorious Revolution inspired birth of modern satire long before coffee shop culture, according to new research', 22 January 2021:
For a profile of my research on the University of Cambridge website, see 'Unfolding the untold stories of an object d’art', 2 June 2014:
For my AHRC Networking Grant, 'The Power of Print: Dutch propaganda for a new Russia' (2013-15), see the AHRC website:
Contribution to discipline
Principal convenor of the Historians of Netherlandish Art (HNA) conference, 10-13 July 2024, the first time in the organisation’s 40-year history that it will be held in the UK
Panel member, Visual Arts, for the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP2), 2019-2022
External PhD examiner for the University of Cambridge; the Warburg Institute, University of London; and the University of Leiden
Annabel Sampson, Why the original 'modern' political satirist might not have been William Hogarth: Romeyn de Hooghe's cartoons for William of Orange ought to be classed as the first images of modern political satire, a historian argues', Tatler, 22 January 2021:
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
- AHV1005 - Inside the Museum
- AHV1008 - Topics in Art History and Visual Culture I
- AHV1011 - Questions and Methods in Art History and Visual Culture
- AHV1012 - Approaches to Art History and Visual Culture
- AHV2020 - Deconstructing the Dutch ‘Golden Age’: Nationalism, Exceptionalism and Decline
- AHV3000 - Art History and Visual Culture Dissertation
- SML3041 - Green Matters in Modern Languages and Cultures
- SMLM235 - Key Concepts for Global Literatures and Cultures
I earned a BA in Art History and Archaeology from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. I spent two years as a British Marshall Scholar at The Courtauld Institute, London, before studying for my PhD at Columbia University, New York. I received a number of grants for my graduate study, among them: the Beinecke Memorial Scholarship; the Samuel H. Kress Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Swann Foundation Fellowship, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. I worked as a Specialist in Old Master Paintings at Christie’s New York before being awarded the Speelman Fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge, a position I held from 2009-2018. I became a lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at Exeter in 2019.