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Bust portrait of Tania C String standing in front of the Naval College in Greenwich, United Kingdom

Associate Professor

Tania String specializes in the art and culture of Early Modern Europe. Her research and teaching focus on portraiture, gender, and communication in the sixteenth century. Major publications include a study of Henry VIII’s England entitled Art and Communication in the Reign of Henry VIII (2008) and an interdisciplinary volume (co-edited with Marcus Bull) Tudorism: Historical Imagination and the Appropriation of the Sixteenth Century (2011)

Before coming to UNC, Dr. String taught at the University of Bristol in the UK. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and was the Kress Doctoral Fellow at the Warburg Institute. She has been a historical consultant for the BBC and for Historic Royal Palaces. While in England she worked closely with the National Portrait Gallery to curate two exhibitions of English portraits: “On the Nature of Women”: Tudor and Jacobean Portraits of Women, 1535-1620 and Imagined Lives: Mystery Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, 1520-1640.

Since coming to UNC in 2010, Dr. String has collaborated with the North Carolina Museum of Art on research into a collection of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century English portraits that resulted in the exhibition History and Mystery: Discoveries in the NCMA’s British Collection (2016) and an international conference Interrogating the English Portrait: Tudor and Jacobean Portraits in the North Carolina Museum of Art (2016).

Dr. String’s current research project is a study of masculinity and the male body in Renaissance art.

Contact Dr. String at

Select Publications


Tudorism: Historical Imagination and the Appropriation of the Sixteenth Century, Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. 170, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, co-edited with Marcus Bull

Art and Communication in the Reign of Henry VIII, Burlington VT and Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008

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Oxford Bibliographies

“Art in Renaissance England”

Chapters and Articles

“Body Building: The Fabrication of the Masculine Body in Renaissance Portraiture,” in The Male Body and Social Masculinity in Premodern Europe, ed. Jacqueline Murray, Toronto: Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, 2022, pp. 229-49.

“The ‘Power of Women’ and the Post-Coital Man,” in Images of Sex and Desire in Renaissance Thought and Modern Historiography, Visual Culture in Early Modernity series, ed. Angeliki Pollali and Berthold Hub, Oxford: Routledge, 2018, pp. 114-27

“Holbein and the Artistic Mise-en-Scène of The Tudors,” in History, Fiction, and The Tudors: Sex, Power, Politics, and Artistic License in the Showtime Television Series, ed. William B. Robison, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 28-91

“Henry VIII and Holbein: Patterns and Conventions in Early Modern Writing about Art,” in Henry VIII and the Court: Art, Politics and Performance, ed. T. Betteridge and S. Lipscomb, Ashgate, 2013, pp. 131-41

“Myth and Memory in Representations of Henry VIII, 1509-2009,” in Tudorism: Historical Imagination and the Appropriation of the Sixteenth Century, ed. T. String and M. Bull, Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. 170, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 201-21

“Projecting Masculinity: Henry VIII’s Codpiece,” in Henry VIII and his Afterlives: Politics, Literature and Art, ed. C. Highley, J.N. King, and M. Rankin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 143-59

“The Concept of ‘Art’ in Henrician England,” Art History, Vol. 32, No. 2 (April 2009), pp. 290-306

“Entre Moyen Âge et Renaissance?: l’Angleterre vers 1500,” Perspective (La revue de l’INHA), 2008. 4, pp. 767-71, co-authored with Marcus Bull

“Problems of Identity in an Age of Change: The Viewer of Art in Renaissance England,” in Fashioning Identities in Renaissance Art, ed. M. Rogers, Aldershot: Ashgate: 2000, pp. 119-26

“Politics and Polemics in English and German Bible Illustrations,” in The Bible as Book:  The Reformation, ed. O. O’Sullivan, London: The British Library: 2000, pp. 137-43

“Henry VIII’s Illuminated Great Bible,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 59 (1996): pp. 315-24

“A Neglected Henrician Decorative Ceiling,” Antiquaries Journal, Vol. 75 (1996): pp. 139-51

Courses Taught

Art, Gender, and Power in Early Modern England
Men and Masculinity in Renaissance Art
Women and the Visual Arts
The Renaissance Portrait
Studies in the History of the Graphic Arts
The Art of Drawing in the Seventeenth Century
The Arts in England, 1450-1650
Landscape Painting in Early Modern Europe
The Nude in Renaissance Art
Northern European Art: Van Eyck to Bruegel
The Tudor and Jacobean Portrait
Word & Image in the Renaissance
Objects and Materials in Renaissance Portraits

Doctoral Students

Brianna Anderson Guthrie, Maternity and Matriarchy in English Family Portraits, 1603-1685
Miranda Elston, Architectural Geographies: Architectural Representations in the Early Tudor Imagination (1509-1547)
Jennifer Wu, The Metapictorial Portrait in Early Modern Britain, 1520-1620
Emily Duvall, Power and Possession: The French Conceptualization of Royal Space during the Reign of François Ier, in progress
Sarah Farkas, Women’s Consumption: The Portraits and Possessions of Anne of Cleves and Sibylle of Cleves, in progress
Hannah Williams, Miraculous Microcosms: Affective Piety and the Significance of Scale in European Devotional Micro-Sculpture, c.1400-1550, in progress