The Catholic Afterlife of Mary Queen of Scots, Part 2: A talk for the Scottish Catholic Heritage Association

Following on from The Catholic Afterlife of Mary Queen of Scots, Part 1: Early Images of a Martyr, Steven Reid (Senior Lecturer in History at The University of Glasgow) explores a range of other aspects of Mary’s Catholic afterlife in this recording of a talk given to the Scottish Catholic Historical Association and Scottish Catholic Heritage Collections Trust on 10 February 2021.

In this public talk, Steven Reid explores the Catholic cultural afterlife of Mary, Queen of Scots. He introduces attendees to the background of the Mary, Queen of Scots research project and talks about how it initially evolved. What is the endless fascination with Mary? Why are people continuously intrigued by her? What is it about her that captures the collective imagination? Why and how has her cultural afterlife resonated through the centuries? Why and how have the stories on Mary changed and how have these stories been told through Marian objects? What is a ‘true’ portrait of Mary and how has her iconography changed and developed? What ties portraits of Mary together?

Most particularly, how do aspects of Mary’s strongly held Catholic faith echo through the ages? Why does this aspect of her reputation emerge immediately after her death and how does it echo in various manifestations through the centuries? How is she perceived as a Catholic martyr? When and where does this happen?

As well as the early portraits and engraved images, Steven also explores the coded Catholic symbolism underlying a key image of Mary and her son James in John Leslie’s De origine, moribus, et rebus gestis Scotorum libri decem (Ten books on the origin, customs, and actions of the Scots, 1578), and a slightly later portrait of the two from 1583; examines a range of Marian ‘relics’ ranging from crucifixes to death masks, nearly all of which have a questionable provenance; and briefly looks at later portraits and media images of Mary.

To find out more about Dr Steven Reid and his research, you can visit his University of Glasgow staff page or follow him on Twitter at @stevenjohnreid

N.B The sound at the beginning of the video is slightly muffled, but the sound quality improves as the recording goes on, so do persevere! If you would like to turn the subtitles on, you can do so by clicking the ‘CC’ logo at the bottom right of the video. Some of the slides in the powerpoint presentation have been cropped to ensure that that the videos of attendees are not visible. If there is a particular slide you are interested in seeing fully, you can get in touch with us through the comments sections below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *