James Hillson’s research focuses on Gothic art and architecture of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in England and France. His interests include the nature of archetypical buildings and their mode of dissemination, the role of regionality and centrality in the formation of stylistic narratives in architecture (both nationally and internationally), material, structural and spatial iconography and the relationship between art and politics in royal patrons. His AHRC funded PhD is provisionally entitled “St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster: Architecture and Decoration in the Courts of Henry III and the three Edwards (1231-1363)” and aims to both provide a new reconstruction of the building and its chronology and investigate changing political influences in a single case study over the reigns of four kings.
Over the course of this thesis he has developed a secondary research interest in the interpretation of eighteenth and nineteenth century antiquarian sources and their use in the reconstruction of non-extant buildings. He is also affiliated both with the Parliamentary Estates Directorate and an AHRC funded interdisciplinary project entitled “St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster: Visual and Political Culture, 1292-1941” based at the University of York and the Institute of Historical Research, London.