Marlo Avidon

PhD Candidate in History

Marlo Avidon is a PhD Student researching fashion, beauty, and female identity at the English Court between 1660-1700 (jointly supervised by Professor Ulinka Rublack and Dr Gabriel Glickman). She previously completed her BA in History at Durham University and MPhil in Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge. Marlo's PhD project explores the role of fashion in the identity construction of elite women between 1660-1702, assessing how their appearance could be used as a tool of self-fashioning, and its resultant impact on women's reputations and the dissemination of elite, metropolitan fashions..

Marlo previously served as PhD Academic Rep for the History Faculty (2022-23), social media manager a member of the editorial team for the Doing History in Public Blog, and Communications Officer for the Northern Early Modern Network.

Marlo's research interests broadly concern the visual and material histories of fashion and beauty, often oriented around the study of the early modern court - She frequently uses portraiture alongside textual and archival sources to construct a more complete narrative of the social and cultural impact of dress and appearance in early modern England.

Marlo's specific interests include:

  • The portraiture of Sir Peter Lely and his contemporaries
  • The relationship between self-fashioning and the male gaze in the lives of early modern elite women
  • The cultural and gendered histories of the Early Modern English Court and its transnational connections
  • The origins and impact of beauty standards and fashionable developments in seventeenth-century Europe
  • Cosmetic use
  • Gendered consumption in Early Modern England 

Marlo is open to supervising on topics relating to visual and material culture in the early modern world, and the social and cultural histories of early modern England. She had previously supervised and lectured for Pt. 2 Paper 14 on Material Culture in the Early Modern World

  • Fashioning the Evelyn Family: Sartorial Biography and Identity Construction in Early Modern England, 1650-1700’, Social History Society Conference, Durham, July 2024
  • ‘Fashioning Children’s Worlds in Late Seventeenth-Century England’, Children’s History Society Conference, Newcastle, July 2024
  • ‘Fashioning Elite Female Society in Late Seventeenth-Century England, 1660-1702’, CHORD Online Seminar, May 2024
  • ‘Sartorial Biographies: A Micro-Historical Approach to Early Modern Dress’, Cambridge Workshop for the Early Modern Period, March 2024
  • ‘Fashionable Modes or Fictitious Collections?: Assessing French Illustrations of Dress in the Pepys Library’, Cambridge Workshop for Material Culture in the Early Modern World, March 2024
  • ‘Female Clothing Consumption and the Marketplace in Seventeenth-Century England’ at the Women, Money, and Markets Conference, June 2023.
  • ''Ornamental Toyes' and ‘Artificial Helps of Handsomness’: Face-Paint, Cosmetics, and Artificial Beautification in Restoration England', Northern Early Modern Network Seminar Series, November 2022
  • ‘A Woman’s Wardrobe and the Socio-cultural Role of Clothing in Seventeenth-Century England’, Cambridge University History Faculty Graduate Research Day, April 2022
  • ‘Shining with Equal Lustre’: Peter Lely’s Windsor Beauties and Women at the Restoration Court, lecture given to the Durham University History Society, March 2022
  • ‘The Negotiation Between the Male Gaze and Female Self-Fashioning in Peter Lely’s Windsor Beauties’ at the Northern Early Modern Network Conference, Newcastle University, Jan 2022 (Chosen for publication in the Conference’s Selected Papers, June 2022)


Tags & Themes

Key publications

‘‘Base by Birth, Mean by Estate, and Calling’: Fashion and the Social Order in Early Modern England, Carnival XXI (January 2022)

Blog Posts for Doing History and Public, accessible via