Associate Professor Erin Griffey

PhD (Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London)

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Associate Professor


A specialist in early modern portraiture and court culture, I have taught at the University of Auckland since 2002.

My teaching encompasses Renaissance and Baroque art, and includes courses at all undergraduate levels, ARTHIST 107 The Renaissance: Art and the City (co-taught with Iain Buchanan); ARTHIST 224/324 Power and Piety: the Baroque; ARTHIST 236/336 Artists and Patrons in Renaissance Italy; the study abroad paper ARTHIST 327 Art in Context: Study Abroad and at Honours level, the full-year seminar, Rembrandt.

I have done extensive postgraduate supervision, with 14 completed MA thesis supervisions and 3 PhD completions.  Teaching is important to me and I am a huge advocate of my students; three have been awarded prestigious full PhD scholarships—at Cambridge, the Courtauld and Sydney. I have been Head of Art History for two years.

Research | Current

  • Early modern art, architecture and decorative arts
  • Court culture
  • The Stuart court
  • Rembrandt
  • Van Dyck

I am best known as a specialist in early modern court culture, especially patronage, material culture and portraiture at the Stuart court. I have published widely in the area, most notably my recent book On Display: Henrietta Maria and the Materials of Magnificence at the Stuart Court, published with Yale University Press (2015): I have written articles that have been published in The Burlington, The Journal of the History of Collections and Studi di Memofonte and contributed to several edited collections. I spend considerable time in the UK and Europe for research. I have given scholarly and public lectures on various aspects of Henrietta Maria’s life, patronage and palaces, including talks at Hampton Court (2013), the Queen’s House, Greenwich (2013), Oxford (2014) and the Rubenianum (2012) in Antwerp; for The Society of Court Studies (2011); and at the Universities of Nottingham, Edinburgh and St. Andrew’s (all 2012).

My research interests extend to broader issues around portraiture, and its function and reception, as well as sexuality in art, from the Renaissance to the Present (including an essay on Titian's Danae paintings and a co-written article with Barry Reay on the American artist Edward Melcarth published in History Workshop Journal). I am also interested in early modern concepts and portrayals of beauty and fashion.

My current project is a co-written book on the Stuart royal bedchamber with Dr. Olivia Fryman (Historic Royal Palaces, UK).

In New Zealand I have a relatively high profile as a specialist in portraiture, having curated two major loan exhibitions on aspects of New Zealand British portraiture and written the accompanying exhibition catalogues. I have also curated an exhibition of contemporary New Zealand photographs of people involved in the New Zealand justice system and acted as the New Zealand curator for the Rembrandt Remastered exhibition. In New Zealand, I have been interviewed for television, radio and newspapers about these exhibitions.

For more on my research, including links to articles and essays, see:

Teaching | Current

ARTHIST 224 Power and Piety: the Baroque

ARTHIST 236 Artists and Patrons in Renaissance Italy

ARTHIST 324 Power and Piety: the Baroque

ARTHIST 336 Artists and Patrons in Renaissance Italy

ARTHIST 722AB Rembrandt and His World

ARTHIST 737 Special Topic: Rembrandt and His World

Postgraduate supervision


Mary Barker, 'A Disquieting Presence: The Virgin Mary in Rembrandt's "Protestant" Art'

Simon McNamara,'Concetto in Rembrandt's Passion Series'

Jemma Field, 'Anna of Denmark and the Arts in Jacobean England'

Natalie Bell, 'The Other Woman: Renaissance: Non-Marriage Portraits in Renaissance Italy'

Select MA supervisions:

Renisa Maki, 'Portraits of American First Ladies' (current)

Katy Bond, 'Sixteenth-Century European Costume Books' (2013)

Deborah Babbage, 'Rembrandt's Pendant Portraits, 1632-34' (2009)

Jemma Field, 'Portraits of the Winter King and Queen at The Hague Court' (2009)

Dr Erin Griffey's Postgraduate Supervision

Areas of expertise

Early modern art, architecture and decorative arts; court culture; the Stuart court; Rembrandt; Van Dyck

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Griffey, E. (2015). On Display, Henrietta Maria and the Materials of Magnificence. London and New Haven: Yale University Press. Pages: 372.


Contact details

Primary office location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
New Zealand

Web links