European Perspectives on the English Reformation - Workshop

European Perspectives on the English Reformation in the Eliot-Phelips Collection.

A postgraduate and early career researcher workshop organized by Institute of Modern Languages Research, Senate House Library, the Institute of English Studies and University College London.

Wednesday 20th September, 12:30 - 14:30, During Lawrence Library, Senate House Library


This workshop will explore European (particularly Spanish) attitudes towards the religious change that took place in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Informal and interactive, it will focus on a selection of printed books, newsletters and manuscripts from Senate House Library's Eliot-Phelips Collection. Participants will be guided through the material by Dr Alexander Samson, Reader in Early Modern Studies at University College London and an expert in Anglo-Spanish intercultural relations. There will be the opportunity for close, hands-on consultation of selected items before a concluding discussion. Digitized copies of the material will be available to take away, and participants will be free to explore Senate House Library's exhibition 'Reformation: Shattered Worlds, New Beginnings' following the conclusion of the workshop.

Eliot-Phelips Collection

The Eliot-Phelips Collection is one of fifty named special collections of printed material held in Senate House Library. It was formed by the collector Edward Frederick Phelips (1882-1928) and placed in Senate House on permanent loan in 1950. It contains over 3,500 items printed in or relating to Spain, approximately half of which date from before 1830. Much of this early material is rare or unique. Particular areas of strength include:

  • sixteenth- and seventeenth-century printed books on a wide range of subjects
  • sources for the social history and urban development of Madrid
  • early modern cartographic material
  • newsletters and printed ephemera

Further information on the highlights of the collection can be found here. It can be browsed through a mixed classmark search using the terms [E.P.]. Around fifty manuscripts from the original collection are also held in Senate House Library. These can be browsed by conducting an advanced search of the Archives and Manuscripts catalogue, specifying “phelips” in the Collection creator(s) field.

Dr Alexander Samson

Alexander is a Reader in Early Modern Studies at University College London. His research interests include the early colonial history of the Americas, Anglo-Spanish intercultural interactions and early modern English and Spanish drama. He has edited volumes on The Spanish Match: Prince Charles’s Journey to Madrid, 1623 (Ashgate, 2006), with Jonathan Thacker A Companion to Lope de Vega (Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2008) and Locus Amoenus: Gardens and Horitculture in the Renaissance, a monographic Special Issue of Renaisance Studies (2012), as well as having published articles on the marriage of Philip II and Mary Tudor, historiography and royal chroniclers in 16th century Spain, English travel writers, firearms, maps, John Fletcher and Cervantes, and female Golden Age dramatists. His first book Mary I and the Habsburg Marriage: England and Spain 1553 – 1557 is forthcoming and editions of Lope de Vega’s Lo fingido verdadero with Manchester University Press and James Mabbe’s Exemplary Novels with Modern Humanities Research Assocation are in progress. He runs the Golden Age and Renaissance Research Seminar and is director of UCL’s Centre for Early Modern Exchanges and the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters.


12.30pm: Welcome and introduction (Dr Maria Castrillo, Senate House Library).

12.40pm: Introduction to the Eliot-Phelips Collection (Dr Matthew Coneys, IMLR).

12.55pm: The English Reformation and Anglo-Spanish relations (Dr Alexander Samson) An informal talk exploring the subject with reference to selected items from the collection. These will be available throughout for participants to consult.

1.25pm: Research exercise Participants will split into small groups to work more closely with individual items, with supervision and input from workshop leaders. This may include transcription, translation, codicological examination, etc.

2pm: Closing discussion and feedback.

2.30pm: End of workshop. Optional admission to SHL Reformation exhibition for participants.

Event details

  • 20 September 2017 12:30
  • Dr Alexander Samson
  • Senate House Library Event