In The Mail on Sunday, in November 2013, the article features Suzannah together with Dr Kate Williams, Dr Anna Whitelock, Lisa Hilton, Dr Cassie Newland, Dr Hallie Rubenhold, and Dr Janina Ramirez.
Suzannah’s interview is as follows:
Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, 34, specialises in the 16th century. She is a historian, broadcaster and convenor for history at New College of the Humanities, London, and author of 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII. She lives in London.
Why the 16th century? It is an age of great and tumultuous change, of extraordinary characters and profoundly moving stories. After my doctorate I was lucky enough to get a job as a research curator at Hampton Court Palace, working on creating a new exhibition and visitor experience to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession, and my love affair with the Tudor court began.
Why are we suddenly so interested in the past?
A culture that feels vulnerable looks to its roots for security. The contemporary Western age exists in a world where, more and more, what we possess seems fragile and fleeting, where our loyalties to long-held ideologies are dissipating, and where our society feels insecure. History tells us the story of who we are and where we’ve come from; it reassures us that we aren’t the first to walk these paths.
If you could travel back in time…
I’d go to the 1530s, to Henry VIII’s court. I’d visit Martin Luther and John Calvin establishing the Reformation in Europe, and I’d sail to the recently settled New World of Mexico. I’d see the foundations of our world being put in place.
What would you put in a time capsule?
Some of the finest examples of craftsmanship of our age – a Patek Philippe watch, a Mont Blanc pen, a pair of handmade shoes. They’ll confuse future historians, who will no doubt see our age as one that ruined the planet with our consumption of what is cheap, quick and disposable, but they’ll end up displayed in a museum.
Who would you resurrect for a dinner date?
The 19th-century composer Franz Liszt, the greatest pianist who ever lived and incredibly handsome – women fainted when he played.
Suzannah’s latest book A Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England (Ebury Press) is out now.