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Richard Dhillon

History, University of Birmingham


Representations of Hell in Post-Reformation England

My research identifies and explores the meanings, contexts and uses of concepts and visualisations of hell in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. It interrogates the survival and modification of ideas about hell through their depiction and dissemination in a range of media, providing a more nuanced understanding of the range and complexity of religious cultures and belief during the long process of religious reform. My work examines a wealth of understudied material such as printed images of hell, and iconographies in church and domestic decoration – sources that have tended to be excluded or pushed to the margins of traditional disciplinary concerns – and makes use of methodologies from history, art history, literary studies, and cultural studies. This interdisciplinary approach and range of primary sources offers an innovative contribution to recent debates and research trajectories concerning the English Reformation by expanding the parameters of traditional enquiry, interrogating new evidence, thus providing an altogether fresh perspective on the topic. More broadly, my work challenges prevailing assumptions concerning the impact of the Reformation in England, offers a timely response to recent scholarship of its impact on the visual arts, and chimes with an emerging consensus that the process of reform involved the reworking and renegotiation of traditional culture.



Dr Tara Hamling, University of Birmingham

Dr Jonathan Willis, University of Birmingham

Professor Richard Cust, University of Birmingham



Seminar, Conference and Workshop Papers

'Representations of Hell in Post-Reformation English Print', Guest Lecture at the University of Worcester (25 February 2016).

'Fragments of Doom in Post-Reformation England', After Iconophobia: Patrick Collinson's 'From Iconoclasm to Iconophobia' thirty years on, The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon (2-3 July 2015).




Teaching Associate, Reformation, Rebellion and Revolution: The Making of the Modern World, c. 1500-1800, Univeristy of Birmingham (2015/16)

This is a core module for first-year History undergraduates, taught in weekly lectures and seminars. Role: planning and leading weekly seminars; marking essays and examinations.



Public Engagement Activities


'Iconoclasm and Propaganda in the English Reformation' (with Dr Tara Hamling), University of Birmingham Early Modern History Study Afternoon: Reformation and Rebellion: Politics Religion and Society in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Britain and Europe (December 2014).

Blogs and media:

'Fragments of Doom in Post-Reformation England', in Tara Hamling and Jonathan Willis (eds.), After Iconophobia? An Online Symposium (2017).

‘Shakespeare in 100 Objects: Number 99, a Great Doom’Finding Shakespeare (October 2014).


Group leader, History for your Future, with Sandwell Council, University of Birmingham (April 2015; November 2015)




'The Scold's Bridle' in Maggie Andrews and Janis Lomas (eds.), A History of Women in 100 Objects (Stroud: The History Press, 2018).


Other Activities

Articles Editor, Journal of History and Cultures (2015)



Social Media








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