Esther Inglis in contexts and culture
Edimbourg (19-20 octobre 2024), avant le 31 mai 2024

 La franco-écossaise Esther Inglis (Dieppe, ca 1570- Édimbourg, 1624), fille de réfugiés huguenots, fut calligraphe, miniaturiste, enlumineuse, brodeuse, auteure de textes en prose et en vers, épouse de l’agent secret et clerc Bartilmo Kello et mère de ses huit enfants. Admirée de son vivant – le calligraphe Jan van den Velde lui dédie un sonnet « A l’unique et souveraine Dame de la noble plume » – Esther Inglis tomba plus ou moins dans l’oubli après son décès, pour en sortir peu à peu à partir des années 1990.

The University of Edinburgh is delighted to invite proposals for a colloquium on the contexts and cultures surrounding the work of Esther Inglis (c.1570-1624), which will be held at the University of Edinburgh on the 19th and 20th October 2024. Guest speakers will include Dr Georgianna Ziegler (Folger Shakespeare Library) and Dr Jamie Reid Baxter (University of Glasgow)


Esther Inglis (c.1570-1624) is a uniquely important scribe, writer and artist.

Escaping religious persecution in France, she and her family moved briefly to England before settling in Edinburgh during her early childhood; here she acquired the skills in calligraphy, drawing, and embroidery that combined to create the extraordinary manuscript books for which she is still famed. Inglis was highly praised as a scribe in her own day, sometimes called the ‘mistress of the golden pen’, and the regard in which her skills were held allowed her books to play a role in the pursuit of personal, religious and political interests. Inglis’s work is not unfamiliar to both academic and wider audiences today, and she continues to inspire contemporary writers and artists. But much remains to be done to understand the multiple forces and contexts which shaped her activity and her singular place within the culture of her time — from her relationship with Scottish politics, to her experience as a Huguenot refugee.

In the quatercentenary of her death, the University of Edinburgh, with the support of the University of Leiden, is hosting a colloquium on the 19th and 20th October 2024, to bring together researchers working on any aspect of Esther Inglis’s life and work, and on any of the crafts, media and cultural contexts in which she worked.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers in any of the following areas of early modern study relevant to Inglis:
  • Scribal culture and manuscript production in an age of print
  • The practice of book making
  • Art and the making and giving of gifts
  • Craft skills and cultural production
  • Religious and/or cultural politics in early modern Scotland, France, and England
  • Women’s writing and women’s authorship
  • Translation and transmediation
  • Transnationality and the culture and politics of refuge
Proposals (max 200 words) should be sent to by 31st May 2024.

Download this call for papers as a PDF here: Esther Inglis contexts culture 24

This colloquium is part of a project that has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 864635, FEATHERS). Read more about the project here. This colloquium is organised in collaboration with the ongoing “Esther Inglis 2024” project at Edinburgh University Library.