Dr Angela McShane


  • Angela McShane is Senior Tutor and Head of Early Modern Studies (V&A) for the V&A/RCA programme in History of Design.

    She is a social and cultural historian broadly interested in popular politics and the material culture of the everyday in early modern England. Her current research projects explore popular political music and the material culture of drinking in 17th – 19th century England.

    Angela offers the following MA courses: Cultural Contexts: A Social History of Design (1600-1800); Material Cultures of Intoxication (1600-1900); Key Concepts; Research Skills: Approaches and Methods; and Making History: In the Collections. She welcomes applications from MPhil and PhD students who are interested in investigating any aspect of the material culture of the everyday, broadly defined, in early modern society.

    Angela’s major publications include Political Broadside Ballads of Seventeenth-Century England: A Critical Bibliography; and several co-edited journals and volumes including Cultures of Intoxication (a Past and Present special edition) and The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England. She has published numerous essays in scholarly journals and edited volumes, and in books accompanying major exhibition and gallery projects at the V&A, such as Quilts and Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600-1800.

    Angela is currently Co-investigator for two major research council-funded projects: the ESRC/AHRC-funded initiative, Intoxicants and Early Modernity, England 1580–1750 (V&A/Sheffield), and the AHRC-funded Hit Songs of the Seventeenth Century and their Significance.    

  • Biography

  • Angela McShane gained her first degree in History from the University College of Wales (Aberystwyth), a PGCE from the University of Leicester and, after a period in secondary and tertiary history teaching, she gained her PhD in History from the University of Warwick in 2005.

    Angela has worked as a lecturer in English and European early modern history at Northampton, Leicester and Warwick Universities. She held an Early Career Fellowship at Oxford Brookes University in 2005/6, before joining the Research Department at the V&A and the V&A/RCA programme team as a permanent member of staff in December 2006.

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  • External collaborations

  • Angela has been an Associate Fellow of the History Department, University of Warwick, since 2005. She has been editor of the V&A Online Journal from its inception in 2008, and was the V&A/Yale Exchange Scholar in 2011. In 2015 she will be taking up an honorary visiting fellowship at the University of Sheffield.

    As an advocate for the incorporation of material culture into mainstream academic history, Angela is regularly invited to lecture to History students, most recently at Oxford, Warwick, Manchester, Helsinki and Sheffield Universities.

    She has received numerous invitations to speak about her research nationally and internationally. In 2014-15 the international invitations she has taken up include Sorbonne, Paris (2015); RSA conference panels, Berlin (2015); ISHR Panel, Tubingen (2015); Anglo-Dutch Exchange Workshop (2014); Anglo-French Exchange Workshop (QM, Sorbonne, V&A) (2014); Helsinki University (2014); Rutgers Centre for Early Modern British Studies (2014); Huntington Library, California (2014); University of California, Santa Barbara (2014). National invitations have included: CRASSH, Cambridge, (2015); Birmingham University (2014); Lincoln College, Oxford (2014); University of Aberdeen (2014); National Archives, Kew (2014); Manchester University (2014); Sheffield University (2015/14); Warwick University (2015/14); York University (2014); IHR: London Metropolitan Seminar (2015), British History in the 17th Century Seminar (2014).

    Since October 2013, Angela McShane has been Co-I on the ESRC/AHRC-funded research project Intoxicants and Early Modernity, England 1580–1750, a joint initiative between the V&A and the University of Sheffield. 

    She is also Co-I on the AHRC-funded project Hit Songs of the Seventeenth Century and their Significance, with Professor Chris Marsh, Queen’s University Belfast.  

    In contribution to the wider academic community, Angela has been an external examiner for the Open University and for PhD theses at King’s College, London.

    Angela sits on the Advisory Board of several major funded projects or organisations (H-Net (Albion & Material Culture); Raphael Samuel History Centre, London; Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick, European Science Fund; NWO funded ‘Popularization and media strategies’ Project, Utrecht University; JISC-funded ‘Integrating Broadside Ballads Archives’ Project; AHRC Network: ‘Ways of Seeing the English Domestic Interior, 1500-1700’.

    She regularly peer reviews for journals including: (2015) Gender History; (2014) Social History; Historical Journal; European History Quarterly (2013) Ashgate Publishing (2012) European History; Journal of Brewing History; (2011) Journal of Seventeenth Century Music; Southern History Journal; Archives Journal; Cultural and Social History Journal; Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies; Social History of Alcohol and Drugs; (2010) Textile History; Journal of Design History; Routledge Publishing; Literature Compass.

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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Books and monographs

    McShane, A. (2011) Political Broadside Ballads in Seventeenth-Century England: A Critical Bibliography, Pickering and Chatto: London, 591 pp. Catalogues 3000 sheets; includes 10000 word introduction

    Monographs in preparation

    McShane, A. The Political World of the Broadside Ballad in Seventeenth-Century England [Completion 2015/16, projected publishers: OUP]

    McShane, A. The Alcoholic State: Political and Material Cultures of Drinking in England 1600-1900 [Completion 2018 ESRC project outcome]

    McShane, A. Producing the State: Materials, Making and Politics in Early Modern England [Completion 2021]

    Edited volumes

    McShane, A. and Walker, G. (eds) (2010) The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England: A Celebration of the Work of Bernard Capp, Palgrave: London

    Edited journals

    McShane, A. and Withington, P.  (eds) (2014) Past & Present Special Supplement: Cultures of Intoxication

    McShane, A. and Kneale, J. (eds) (2011) Special Double Edition of Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 25

    McShane, A. and Vallance, E. (eds) (2009) Special Section of Journal of British Studies, on ‘Loyalty and Allegiance in Early Modern England’

    McShane, A. (ed.) V&A Online Journal, issues 2 – 5: 2009-13

    Journal articles

    McShane, A. (2014) ‘Political and Material Cultures of Drinking in 17th Century England’, in: P. Withington and A. McShane (eds) Past & Present Special Supplement: Cultures of Intoxication

    McShane, A. and Kneale, J. (2011) ‘Histories and Geographies of Intoxicants and Intoxication: An Introduction’, Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol.25, 6–14

    McShane, A. (2011) ‘Recruiting Citizens for Soldiers in Seventeenth-Century English Ballads’, Journal of Early Modern History, 15: 1-2, 105–37

    McShane, A. (2009) ‘Subjects and Objects: Material Expressions of Love and Loyalty in Seventeenth-Century England’, in special section on ‘Loyalties and Allegiances in Early Modern England’, Journal of British Studies, vol. 48: 4, 871–86

    McShane, A. (2007) ‘Debate: The Roasting of the Rump. Scatology and the Body Politic in Restoration England’, Past & Present, no.196, 254–72

    McShane, A. (2007) ‘A Resounding Silence? Huguenots and Broadside Ballads in 17th Century England’, Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. XXVIII: 5, 604–25

    Journal articles for submission 2015

    McShane, A. ‘“How happy the State where no discords are breeding”: Protestant Disharmony and Popular Song in Seventeenth-Century England’ [submission 2015 to Past & Present or Historical Journal)

    McShane, A. ‘Drinking for the Party: Drink, Popular Song and Politics in Early Modern England’ [commissioned for John Street and Keith Negus (ed.) Special Edition of Popular Music Journal]

    McShane, A. 'Upsides, Downsides and Broadsides in the Digital Archive', [Marcus Nevitt and Mike Braddick (eds), Media History]

    McShane, A.  and Bailey, J. ‘Beds and the making of the Domestic Landscape’, [submission to Cultural and Social History]

    Essays in edited collections

    McShane, A. and Jeffries, N. (2015) ‘I say shard; you say sherd’: Contrasting and complimentary approaches to a piece of early modern ‘venice glass’, in: D. Gaimster, C. Richardson, T. Hamling (eds), Ashgate Research Companion to Material Culture in Early Modern Europe [forthcoming]

    McShane, A. (2011) ‘Ballads and Broadsides from the beginnings of print to 1660’ in: Joad Raymond (ed.), The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, vol. 1: Britain and Ireland to 1660, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 339–62 [Awarded the Sixteenth Century Society's Roland H. Bainton Prize for Reference Works, 2012]

    McShane, A. (2010) ‘Ne sutor ultra crepidam. Political Cobblers and Broadside Ballads in Late Seventeenth-century England’, in: Patricia Fumerton, Anita Guerrini, and Kris McAbee (eds), Ballads and Broadsides in Britain, 1500-1800, Farnham: Ashgate, 2nd edn 2012; 1st edn 2010, 207–28 [Shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Award 2011]

    McShane, A. (2010) ‘The Extraordinary Case of the Flesh-Eating and Blood-Drinking Cavaliers’ in: A. J. McShane and G. Walker (eds), The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England: A celebration of the work of Bernard Capp, Palgrave: London, 192–210

    McShane, A. and Backhouse, C. (2010) ‘Top-knots and lower sorts: popular print and promiscuous consumption in late 17th Century England’ in Michael Hunter (ed.) British Printed Images to 1700, Ashgate: London, 337–58

    McShane, A. and Knights, M. (2009) ‘From Pen to Print – a Revolution in Communications?’, in: Beat Kumin (ed.), The European World 1500–1800, Routledge: London and New York, 2nd edn 2013; 1st edn 2009, 183–93

    McShane, A. (2008) ‘Typography Matters: The Branding of Ballads and the Gelding of Curates in Stuart England’, in: John Hinks and Catherine Armstrong (eds), Book trade Connections from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Centuries, Delaware and London: British Library Print Networks Series and Oak Knoll, 19–44

    McShane, A. (2005) ‘The Gazet in Metre; or The Rhiming Newsmonger: The Broadside Ballad as Intelligencer. A New Narrative’, in: Joop W. Koopmans (ed.), News and Politics in Early Modern Europe (1500-1800), Leuven: Peeters, 131–50

    McShane, A. (2004) ‘Roaring Royalists and Ranting Brewers: the Politicisation of Drink and Drunkenness in Political Broadside Ballads 1640 –1689’, in: Adam Smyth (ed.), A Pleasing Sinne. Drink and Conviviality in Seventeenth-Century England, Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 69–86

    McShane, A. (2004) ‘England’s Darling or “Senseless Loon”: Hero and Villain, the Ballading Battle for the Image of Monmouth’, in: C. George and J. Sutherland (eds), Heroes and Villains: The Creation and Propagation of an Image, Durham and Manchester: Manchester University Press and Centre for Seventeenth Century Studies, 139–57

    Encyclopaedia entries

    McShane, A. (2012) ‘Martin Parker’, in: Garrett A. Sullivan Jr, Alan Stewart, Rebecca Lemon, Nicholas McDowell, Jennifer Richards (eds), The Encyclopaedia of English Renaissance Literature, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell

    Exhibition catalogues

    McShane, A. and Tierney, E. (2015), ‘Introducing Europe 1600–1800: An historical overview’, in L. Miller and H. Young (eds), Europe 1600–1800 Galleries, London: V&A Publishing [forthcoming]

    McShane, A. (2011), ‘Princely Patronage in Europe, 1600–1800’, in: L. E. Miller and S. Medlam (eds), Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces, 1600–1800, London: V&A Publishing 

    McShane, A.J., with Christie, A. and Turner, A. (2010) 'The Chapman Quilt: Texts, Myths and Mysteries', in: S. Prichard (ed.) Quilts, London: V&A Publishing  

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  • Research students

  • Alessandra Chessa, Miranda Clow, Rebecca Unsworth (V&A/Queen Mary University of London)

Selected work


Research interests

Angela McShane's research and publications focus on popular politics and the material culture of the everyday in early modern England (1550–1750). She investigates popular political cultures through cheap print (especially political song), drinking cultures (including the materiality and ritual of drinking) and 'objects of emotion’ (such as beds – see joint project with Professor Joanne Bailey, Oxford Brookes University).

Current and recent research

Angela McShane is currently working on three book projects:

The Political World of the Seventeenth-Century English Broadside Ballad, [completion 2015/16, projected publishers: OUP]

Marking Time in Early Modern England, [a joint publication project between the V&A/RCA Early Modern Course and the extensive Crab Tree Farm Collections]

The Alcoholic State: Political and Material Cultures of Drinking 1600-1900, [forthcoming 2018]