Christina J Faraday is a Research Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker. She specialises in the art, literature and music of Tudor England.

John Dee’s famous mirror may not be magical – but its Aztec origins are quite the mystery

The discovery that the astrologer’s ‘scrying glass’ is made of obsidian from Mexico points to the complex global webs surrounding many Tudor objects

22 Oct 2021
Portrait of an Unknown Woman (c. 1590–1600), Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© HM Queen Elizabeth II 2021

Talking heads: the prattling paintings of Renaissance England

Why do paintings and objects from the Tudor and Stuart periods have so much to say for themselves?

15 Jul 2021
Broadcasting legend? Cellini’s Perseus plus boombox

Art really does work on the radio – especially if it’s cast as true crime

A new series on BBC Radio 3 delves into the notorious life of Benvenuto Cellini – and it’s a binge-worthy Renaissance thriller, Christina Faraday writes

22 Mar 2021
Crowning Glory? Henry VIII wearing the lost Tudor crown in a portrait by Hans Holbein.

Has a piece of Henry VIII’s lost crown been buried in the Midlands for 400 years?

Late medieval gold is vanishingly rare, so a metal detectorist’s discovery may be a truly spectacular find

Delftware plate (1661). The Bryan Collection, Lake Bluff, Illinois.

Period pieces – the fashion for putting dates on domestic objects

From commemorative wares to ordinary utensils, inscribing dates on household objects was once common practice

12 Jan 2021
The headquarters of the Royal College of Physicians in Regent’s Park.

The Royal College of Physicians’ plan to sell its rare books would be a serious medical error

A proposal to sell off ‘non-medical’ books in the institution’s library takes too narrow a view of the history of medicine

28 Oct 2020
Screenshot of The Procession to Calvary.

Renaissance remixed – a surreal video game takes a sideways look at art history

Could a Pythonesque computer game set a good example for galleries trying to attract virtual visitors?

21 May 2020
Thomas Cromwell (detail), (1532–33), Hans Holbein. The Frick Collection, New York.

‘Hilary Mantel brings her characters to life with as much clarity as a Holbein portrait’

The novelist’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy suggestively fills in what art historians can only guess at

23 Apr 2020
Richard III (detail; late 16th century), English School.

Painted as a villain – how the Tudors regarded Richard III

The latest addition to the long gallery at Hever Castle presents the Plantagenet king in the worst possible light

Little Britain – the Elizabethan passion for portrait miniatures

Flaunted in public and pored over in private, the portraits of Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver encapsulate their age

13 Apr 2019