Alexandra Marraccini


Dr Alexandra Marraccini
Research Associate
The Warburg Institute
Woburn Square
London WC1H 0AB
Tel: +44 (0) 207 862 8746

Research project

Wenceslaus Hollar, From The Temple at Jerusalem series, 1657-60, etching.

The Oozing English Baroque

My research for the Bilderfahrzeuge project has resolved into writing a new theoretical infrastructure to address the English Baroque, and especially its material culture, in new terms. Drawing on the affective methodologies latent in Heinrich Wölfflin’s Renaissance und Barock (1888), my work now uses language of movement and emotion to think anew about the experience of English baroque spaces and their contexts. Drawing on the concept that Wölfflin thinks through with the word “zähflüssig” amongst other descriptive terms, I render this in English—and specifically for the English case—as slime, slimy, and sliminess. I use this new ‘slime theory’ to think through a selection of related topics, including the woodcarvings of Grinling Gibbons, the flooring and roof partitions of Wren churches in the city of London, 17th century book frontispieces and type ornaments, and both the borders and subject materials of key exempla from the Mortlake tapestry works.  In dialectical opposition to sliminess, I consider the English Baroque’s instances of crispness, in lace patterns, portraiture, Newtonian geometries, and the engravings of Wenceslaus Hollar. I also treat how the English baroque is both particular and national, through the lens of “sweetness” in mid-century historiography of Pevsner and related allies, and extra-national, in that many of its artists were immigrants and lived across Europe during an age of tumult.

Leading to final publication as articles and a monograph, this work also seeks to push affective boundaries between literary-critical and art-historical approaches to the baroque, both in its source material and stylistic aims.


PhD, History of Art, University of Chicago (2018)

MA, Medieval Studies, University of Toronto (2011)

BA, Yale University (2009)

Awarded during the course of PhD research:

— Sir William Sterling Maxwell Fellow for Text-Image Studies,University of Glasgow (2015), 

— RSA-Kress-Bodleian Fellow at the Weston Library for Rare Books and Manuscripts (2016)

— Visiting member of Corpus Christi College, Oxford (spring 2015- spring 2018). 

— Elected to Bibliographical Society (UK)

Publications (selection)

Books & edited volumes

“Fleshly Wisdoms: Image Practices, Bodies, and the Transmission of Knowledge in a Sixteenth-Century Alchemical Miscellany” in: Word & Image. Volume 33.(2017), pp. 339-361.

— “Open Secrets: Alchemical-Hermetic Imagery in the Ripley Scrolls”. Charming Intentions. (2013). Ed. Daniel Zamani. pp. 65-83.


— Article: “Patterning the Void: An Elegy For The Atalanta Fugiens In Five Parts”

— Conference Paper: “Motile Stones: Pearls, Bezoars, and Other Accretions In Early Modern English Collections”. Renaissance Society of America, March 2019, Toronto.

— Monograph on book images, collections, and Early Modern structures of knowledge

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