David Rizzio at the Scottish Court: Workshop 1

In brief

Title - David Rizzio at the Scottish Court

Venue - 50 George Square, Edinburgh

Format - Talks; roundtable discussion; workshop; pedagogical lab

Research strand - David Rizzio at the Scottish Court

Book your free ticket

David Rizzio (1533-1566), musician and courtier, is a highly romanticised historical figure.

He has long been represented in the Scottish arts for his close relationship with Mary Queen of Scots, his murder at the hands of her husband and other Protestant lords, and his association with the religious conflicts that marked the Scottish Reformation.

Despite his fame, neither his political and cultural role nor his artistic influence have been studied in any scholarly detail.

Through a series of workshops, Dr Emanuela Patti is aiming to fill this gap, providing the first comprehensive account of Rizzio’s life, career and impact.

This project is funded by a Royal Society of Edinburgh Workshop Award.

Find out more about the project 


This is the first workshop in a series of three.

It looks at the figure of Rizzio within the historical context of the Scottish Reformation.

As well as uncovering the political role Rizzio played in religious conflict, it looks at his personal relationships with Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley and how they affected the dynamics of the 16th century Scottish Court.

Topics covered include:

  • Rizzios relationship with Mary
  • his life at the Scottish Court
  • his murder


Time Speaker(s) and panelists Title and format
9.30am Emanuela Patti (University of Edinburgh) Welcome and introduction
10.00am Alessandra Zamperini (University of Verona) David Rizzio. His (im)possible likeness - talk 
  Lucinda Byatt (University of Edinburgh)  Courtier and Secretary: Davide Rizzio from Savoy to Scotland - talk
  Amy Blakeway (University of St Andrews) Like father, like daughter? The governance of Mary Queen of Scots and King James V - talk
  Carlotta Paltrinieri (Royal Holloway) "Davide Ricciolo” in the Medici Avvisi - talk
12.15pm Anna Groundwater (National Museum of Scotland); Julian Goodare (University of Edinburgh) Roundtable discussion with the morning's speakers and additional panelists
12.45pm Lunch  
1.30pm Katie Hunter (St Thomas Of Aquin's R.C. High School) The Enquiry Question in the Scottish History classroom - workshop
2.30pm Marco Palone and Emanuela Patti (University of Edinburgh) and students of the undergraduate course Decentering Medieval and Renaissance Italy  How to turn new research and contents into educational activities for schools - pedagogical lab

Recording and follow-up

Please note that the workshop may be photographed and/or recorded and added to the project website afterwards. If you would prefer not to appear in any recordings, please contact us in advance or speak to us on the day. It's not a problem.

We would also like to contact participants in the future to invite you to the other workshops in the series and hear what you thought of the event and how you might use our research in your work or study. You can tell us at the time of booking if you are happy for us to do that.

Mar 17 2023 -

David Rizzio at the Scottish Court: Workshop 1

The first of three workshops on the life and legacy of David Rizzio, this event examines Rizzio's political and religious role at court during the Scottish Reformation.

Project Room 1.06
50 George Square