School of English


I joined the University of Kent in 2007 from the University of Birmingham, where I was lecturer in English and History and Fellow of The Shakespeare Institute. I’m interested in the relationship between texts and the material circumstances of their production and consumption – for instance the way individuals described objects as they wrote them into probate inventories, or how theatre audiences ‘saw’ spaces in relation to the dialogue of a play, the physical nature of the theatre and their own memories and imaginations. My research, then, focuses on the movement between living and writing, between experience and narrative.


An edition of Arden of Faversham for Arden Early Modern Drama, for which I’m working on its different performance histories, as amateur and professional theatre, as a puppet play, a ballet and an opera, from the sixteenth century to the present.


Material worlds:

I have just finished a book with Tara Hamling at Birmingham on middling domestic interiors – trying to understand the experience of living in an early modern house​ – from bed chambers and warming pans to apostle spoons and chamber pots, titled  A Day at Home in Early Modern England. I have previously run an AHRC research network on Ways of Seeing the English Domestic Interior, 1500-1700: the case of decorative textiles also with Tara, which investigated peoples’ experience of household life in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and considered how we might use this information to enhance our experience of visiting historic properties in the twenty-first century. The network used the latest developments in computer science and cognitive science in order to understand how the domestic interior was experienced in early modern England, and it brought together researchers in the humanities and sciences, conservators, museums curators and heritage professionals, including individuals from English Heritage, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Historic Royal Palaces and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. In order to make the task more manageable, we focussed on a specific case study – ‘how did early modern men and women respond to decorative textiles in their houses?’ Find out more about the network here. There’s also more information about this and other projects on the Material Histories blog.


Other projects:

I am working on a long-term project on the clothing of those below the level of the elite in early modern England, focusing on the function of dress in an urban context. This offers an opportunity to examine the relationship between prescriptive discourses about clothing – sumptuary legislation, moral literature etc, and the evidence of social practice available from testamentary and judicial documents. In common with the majority of my work, this project is based on extensive examination of local archival materials, and an attempt to relate these to national discourses and the material remains of the period.

I have also been involved in the DocExplore Project which investigates the computer-based access and analysis of historical manuscripts. The project involves the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies and the School of Engineering and Digital Arts at Kent, and the University of Rouen, in association with the Bibliotèques de Rouen and Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library. Building on my research into the material and haptic qualities of texts as objects, my contribution has explored ways of simulating the physical experience of handling a manuscript, and the end result allows public institutions to create ‘a new digital archive that enables readers to interact with the materials without damaging centuries-old books’ (The Guardian). Users can also access translations and transcriptions, sound and video resources, and historical notes. The system has been on display at the Salon du Livre Ancien, Abbatial St. Ouen in Rouen, and Canterbury Cathedral.


Online projects:


Contact Information


Office: W3.N6 (Rutherford)

Study leave Autumn Term 2018

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Hamling, Tara, and Catherine Richardson. 2017. A Day At Home In Early Modern England: Material Culture And Domestic Life, 1500-1700. London, UK: Yale University Press.
Richardson, Catherine. 2011. Shakespeare And Material Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Richardson, Catherine. 2006. Domestic Life And Domestic Tragedy. Manchester University Press. doi:ISBN 0-7190-6544-5.
Edited book
Richardson, Catherine, Tara Hamling, and David Gaimster, eds. 2016. The Routledge Handbook Of Material Culture In Early Modern Europe. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge.
Merry, Mark, and Catherine Richardson, eds. 2012. The Household Account Book Of Sir Thomas Puckering Of Warwick, 1620: Living In London And The Midlands. Vol. 45. Stratford upon Avon: Dugdale Society.
Richardson, Catherine, and Tara Hamling, eds. 2010. Everyday Objects: Medieval And Early Modern Material Culture And Its Meanings. Ashgate.
Richardson, Catherine, and Christopher Dyer, eds. 2009. William Dugdale, Historian, 1605-86: His Life, His Writings And His County. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer.
Richardson, Catherine, ed. 2004. Clothing Culture 1350-1650. Ashgate: Ashgate Publishing Group.
Book section
Richardson, Catherine. 2019. "Canterbury, 1560: Slander And Social Order In An Early Modern Town". In A Sourcebook Of Early Modern European History Life, Death, And Everything In Between. Routledge.
Richardson, Catherine. 2018. "Entries On Stratford-Upon-Avon In The Time Of Shakespeare, Individuals And Material Culture". In The Shakespeare Encyclopedia: Life, Works, World, And Legacy, Patricia Parker. Greenwood Publishing.
Richardson, Catherine. 2017. "Continuity And Memory: Domestic Space, Gesture And Affection At The Sixteenth-Century Deathbed". In Inhabit: People, Places And Possessions, Antony Buxton, Hulin, Linda, and Anderson, Jane. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien: Peter Lang. doi:10.3726/b11432.
Richardson, Catherine. 2016. "Furniture And Furnishings". In A Cultural History Of The Home: The Age Of Empire, Amanda Flather. Berg.
Richardson, Catherine. 2016. "Clothing And Social Status". In A Cultural History Of Dress And Fashion In The Renaissance, Elizabeth Currie. Vol. 3. London, UK: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Richardson, Catherine. 2016. "Shakespearean Comedy And Domestic Encounters". In The Oxford Handbook Of Shakespearean Comedy, Heather Hirschfield. Oxford University Press.
Richardson, Catherine. 2015. "Household In Early Modern Britain". In Das Haus In Der Geschichte Europas, Joachim Eibach and Schmidt-Voges, Inken. De Gruyter.
Richardson, Catherine. 2015. "Shakespeare'S Siblings". In The Shakespeare Circle, Stanley Wells and Edmondson, Paul. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Richardson, Catherine. 2015. "Honest Clothes In The Merry Wives Of Windsor". In Shakespeare And Costume, Bella Mirabella and Lennox, Patricia. London: Bloomsbury.
Richardson, Catherine. 2015. "Deathbeds And Willmaking". In Inhabiting Space: Archaeologists Artefacts And Architecture, Anthony Buxton. Peter Lang.
Richardson, Catherine. 2014. "Written Texts And The Performance Of Materiality". In Writing Material Culture History, Giorgio Riello and Gerritsen, Anne. London: Bloomsbury.
Richardson, Catherine. 2013. "Domestic Manuals And The Power Of Prose". In The Oxford Handbook To Prose 1500 - 1640, Andrew Hadfield. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Richardson, Catherine. 2013. "'Make You A Cloak Of It And Weare It For My Sake': Material Culture And Commemoration In Early Modern English Towns". In Monuments And Monumentality Across Medieval And Early Modern Europe, Michael Penman. Lincolnshire: Shaun Tyas.
Richardson, Catherine. 2013. "Household Books". In The Elizabethan Top Ten, Andy Kesson and Smith, Emma. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Richardson, Catherine. 2011. "'as My Whole Trust Is In Him': Jewellery And The Quality Of Early Modern Relationships.". In Ornamentalism: The Art Of Renaissance Accessories, Bella Mirabella, 182-201. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Richardson, Catherine. 2011. "Domestic Life In Jacobean London". In Thomas Middleton In Context, Suzanne Gossett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Richardson, Catherine. 2011. "Domestic Life". In The Oxford Handbook Of Shakespeare, Arthur Kinney. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Richardson, Catherine. 2010. "The Stage, Costume And Fashion". In The Fashion History Reader, Peter McNeil and Riello, Giorgio, 132-134. London: Routledge.
Richardson, Catherine. 2010. "Disciplinary Perspectives On The History Of Early Modern Fashion". In Moda: Storia E Storie, Giorgio Riello, Muzzarelli, Giuseppina, and Tosi Brandi, Elisa. Milan: Bruno Mondadori.
Richardson, Catherine. 2010. "Tragedy, Family And Household". In Cambridge Companion To English Renaissance Tragedy, Garrett Sullivan and Smith, Emma, 17-29. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Richardson, Catherine. 2010. "Social Life". In Elizabethan And Jacobean England: Sources And Documents Of The English Renaissance, Arthur Kinney. Wiley-Blackwell.
Richardson, Catherine. 2010. "Household Writing". In Palgrave History Of Women'S Writing 1500 - 1610, Jennifer Summit and Bicks, Caroline, 89-107. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Richardson, Catherine. 2009. "Material Culture In Early Modern Warwick". In William Dugdale, Historian, 1605-1686: His Life, His Writings And His County, Catherine Richardson and Dyer, Christopher, 209-231. Boydell and Brewer.
Richardson, Catherine. 2006. "'Representations Of The Domestic Interior In Renaissance Drama'". In The Imagined Interior: Representations Of The Domestic Interior Since The Renaissance, Jeremy Aynsley and Grant, Charlotte. V&A Publishing.
Richardson, Catherine. 2005. "Introduction". In The Merry Wives Of Windsor. Penguin Books Ltd.
Richardson, Catherine. 2004. "Domestic Objects And The Construction Of Family Identity". In The Medieval Household In Christian Europe, C. 850-C. 1550 Managing Power, Wealth, And The Body, Cordelia Beattie, Maslakovic, Anna, and Rees Jones, Sarah, 433-447. Brepols Publisher.
Richardson, Catherine. 2004. "'Havying Nothing Upon Hym Saving Onely His Sherte': Event, Narrative And Material Culture In Early Modern England". In Clothing Culture 1350-1650, Catherine Richardson, 209-221. Ashgate.
Richardson, Catherine. 2019. ""More Things In Heaven And Earth": Materiality And The Stage". Shakespeare. Taylor and Francis. doi:10.1080/17450918.2018.1561502.
Tatler, Ben, Ross Macdonald, Catherine Richardson, and Tara Hamling. 2016. "Mobile Eye-Tracking And Interactions With Domestic Textiles In Real World Environments". Textile History. Maney Publishing. doi:10.1080/00404969.2016.1144865.
Richardson, Catherine. 2016. "'a Most Curious Mantle': Shakespeare'S Late Materialities". Costellazioni.
Richardson, Catherine, and Tara Hamling. 2016. "Ways Of Seeing Early Modern Decorative Textiles: An Introduction". Textile History. Maney Publishing. doi:10.1080/00404969.2016.1144672.
Richardson, Catherine. 2010. "'Shakespeare And Material Culture'". Literature Compass. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. doi:10.1111/j.1741-4113.2010.00700.x.
Richardson, Catherine, Elly Lowe, Nicholas Riall, and Sam Riches. 2007. "The Cotehele Cupboard:domestic Objects, Imagery And Meaning, An Interdisciplinary Approach.". Archaeological Journal. Longmans.
Richardson, Catherine. 2006. "'The Material Culture Of Stranger Life'". Proceedings Of The Huguenot Society. Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
Richardson, Catherine. 2005. "Early Modern Plays And Domestic Spaces". Home Cultures. Berg.
Edited journal
Richardson, Catherine, and Tara Hamling, eds. 2016. "Ways Of Seeing Early Modern Decorative Textiles For Textile History". Textile History. Maney. doi:0040-4969 (Print), 1743-2952 (Online).
Internet publication
Richardson, Catherine. 2013. "'City Comedy And Material Life': Things In The Dutch Courtesan". Web page.
Richardson, Catherine. 2017. "Review Of Shepard Alexandra . Accounting For Oneself. Worth, Status, And The Social Order In Early Modern England. Oxford University Press, London 2015. Xv, 357 Pp. £65.00.". International Review Of Social History. Van Gorcum Co. BV. doi:10.1017/S0020859017000098.
Richardson, Catherine. 2007. "Shakespeare The Basics". Times Literary Supplement. TLS.
Richardson, Catherine. 2007. "Women And Material Culture, 1660-1830". Jennie E Batchelor and Kaplan, Cora. Reviews In History. Institute of Historical Research. doi:review number 640.
Richardson, Catherine. 2007. "Words Seldom Spent In Vain: A Review Of Studying Shakespeare On Film". Times Higher Education. Times.
Richardson, Catherine. 2007. "Worlds Seldom Spent In Vain: A Review Of Presentist Shakespeare". Times Higher Education. Times.
Richardson, Catherine. 2007. "The Biography Of The Object In Late Medieval And Renaissance Italy". History. Blackwell. doi:10.1111/j.1468-229X.2007.410_38.x.
Richardson, Catherine. 2007. "Review Of Elizabeth Salter, Cultural Creativity In The English Renaissance". H-Net Reviews.
Richardson, Catherine. 2007. "Words Seldom Spent In Vain: A Review Of How To Read A Shakespeare Play". Times Higher Education. Times.
Richardson, Catherine. 2006. "Elodie Lecuppre-Desjardin And Anne-Laure Van Bruaene (Eds.), Emotions In The Heart Of The City (14Th – 16Th Century)". Urban History. Brepols.
Richardson, Catherine. 2004. "Theatres And Encyclopedias In Early Modern Europe". New Theatre Quarterly. Cambridge University Press.
Showing 55 of 59 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

  • Early modern material culture – households, clothing, possessions and spaces.
  • Early modern drama – domestic tragedy, Shakespeare, site-specific performances.
  • Everyday life – what people did, who they did it with, what gestures and emotions they employed, how they recorded what they found important, how status and gender shaped everyday experience and interaction.
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During the academic year 2016/17, I will be teaching on:

EN660 Writing Lives in Early Modern England: Diaries, Letters and Secret Selves (Stage 3)

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Research supervision

I welcome graduate students in any areas of the dramatic, social and cultural history of the period, and am particularly interested in supervising interdisciplinary projects. I have previously supervised students working on various aspects of Shakespeare studies, early modern account books kept by women, military culture, the construction of community and ecclesiastical court depositions.

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Professional activities

I am the Orders Secretary and a Council Member of the Malone Society.

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School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823054

Last Updated: 17/09/2018