Online Lecture: ‘Cities and Surveillance in Spain and Beyond, 1200-1500’ with Dr Tom Nickson (Courtauld Institute), 24 February 2021, 18-19pm (GMT)

Organiser: Zurbarán Centre with ARTES Iberian & Visual Culture Group, Durham University

Climbing tall towers is an unmissable element of modern city breaks, rewarding breathless visitors with opportunities to survey the city below and capture it in photos. In this lecture I consider the long history of surveillance and image making. Focusing especially on the famous Giralda in Seville, and I will show how climbing towers was always implicated in the ‘imperial gaze’, and suggest that the growing popularity of tower climbing in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries can be connected to the emergence of painted cityscapes and technologies of surveillance and map-making.

Dr Tom Nickson is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Art & Architecture at the Courtauld Institute in London and Vice-Chair of ARTES. He is currently working on a book that surveys architecture in the Iberian Peninsula between 1150 and 1450.

The talk is free and open to all. It will last ca. 40 minutes and will be followed by Q&A. Booking is essential. Please email the Zurbarán Centre ( to register and to receive a zoom link. Please note registration closes 24 hours before the seminar.

Contact for more information about this event.


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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