Samuel Daniel, Poet and Historian: A Two-day Conference

Thursday and Friday, 10-11 September 2015 at The Royal College of Music, London

Conference Organizers: John Pitcher (St John’s College, Oxford) &Yasmin Arshad (UCL)

It is a great pleasure to announce the first major Conference devoted to Samuel Daniel (1562-1619), presented by UCL’s Centre for Early Modern Exchanges, the English Faculty at Oxford University, St John’s College Oxford, and the Royal College of Music.

Samuel Daniel was a very considerable poet, writer, historian and man of letters. He is however the least studied and least understood of the major Elizabethans. Daniel was taught at Oxford by John Florio, and he did much to introduce Italian sweetness and ease of writing into the bloodstream of English poetry. He was also an impressive historian. He had extensive personal connections with the rich and powerful of the day, and with leading scholars, antiquarians, lawyers and academics. Daniel’s brother, John Danyel (1564-1625), was a musician of the first rank, who wrote songs and lute pieces that by general agreement keep company with Dowland's finest compositions. The Daniel brothers, who were very close, collaborated fruitfully on several occasions, but their work together has rarely been looked at.

This is the context for this interdisciplinary Conference, which will explore the full range of Daniel's interests in poetry, history and music, and how these come together in his work. Specific attention will be paid to the influence of continental artists on his writing, his importance as a student of history, especially medieval history, his achievements as a poet and writer, and his links to the world of music and the arts, through his brother John Danyel and others, Ferrabosco and Inigo Jones among them. The Daniel brothers were at the very centre of artistic achievement and thinking in early modern England and the papers will reflect this, with discussions of English Renaissance masques, costumes, portraits and architecture, as well as the manners and tastes of the social elite and their patronage. Samuel Daniel’s role in bringing the Italian High Renaissance into English culture, especially through his translations and poetry, will be of special interest. There is a programme of eight academic panels in sequence (no parallel sessions) over the two days, with two or three 20-minute papers in each, from 22 speakers. The Conference will include many firsts—including a reading of the prose History.

There will be a concert of John Danyel’s music, with some poetry from Samuel Daniel, on the Thursday evening, 10 September, at the Britten Theatre. This will be the first time the Daniel brothers’ work has been looked at together in performance. This will be led by Sam Brown of the Royal College of Music, with staged readings of selections from The Complaint of Rosamond, Musophilus and ‘Ulysses and the Siren’ performed in association with Globe Education, by the Dolphin’s Back theatre company.

Confirmed Speakers include: Warren Boutcher (QMUL); Barbara Ravelhofer (Durham); Martin Shepherd (Editor, John Danyel’s works); Christopher Goodwin (Lute Society); Karen Hearn (formerly of the Tate, Hon. Professor UCL); Lucy Gent (independent scholar).

For Conference information, and registration (which includes lunch and refreshments on both days and the concert ticket) please visit:

Early booking is suggested as space is limited. We have a number of graduate bursaries generously made available by the SRS. Please contact us about this, and with any other queries at

The Concert at the Britten Theatre is also open to members of the public: To book tickets please contact the RCM Box Office on 020 7591 4314, weekdays 10.00am – 4.00pm, or visit

We are grateful for the generous support of: The Society of Renaissance Studies; Globe Education; Oxford English Faculty; St John’s College Oxford; UCL‘s Centre for Early Modern Exchanges; UCL European Institute; UCL English Department; UCL Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies (JFIGS); and the Royal College of Music (RCM).