Heather Dalton

Dr Heather Dalton is an ARC Early Career Research Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at The University of Melbourne. She is also a member of The Cabot Project at the University of Bristol in the UK and an Honorary Associate Investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre for the History of Emotions.

Her areas of interest include:

  • Transnational relationships, family ties and gender in trading networks and voyages of discovery, 1450–1700.
  • Trade, travel writing, cartography, the communication of ‘discovery’ and settlement in:

      -  the Atlantic, especially in regard to South America and Africa.

      -  the Pacific, especially in regard to the China Trade and colonisation of North Queensland and
         New Guinea.

  • Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century merchant portraiture, and marine and early colonial images.


The Cabot Project - University of Bristol
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ORCID no. 0000-0003-0989-0399


Emotional Support, Knowledge Transfer and Dynastic Ambition: the Importance of Women and Strong Family Relationships in Early Sixteenth-Century Atlantic Trading Networks

Academic (Refereed) Publications

Scholarly Books

Merchants and Explorers: Roger Barlow, Sebastian Cabot and Networks of Atlantic Exchange, 1500–1560. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Journal Articles
Dalton, H., J. Salo, P. Niemelä and S. Örmä. 'Frederick II of Hohenstaufen’s Australasian Cockatoo: Symbol of Detente Between East and West and Evidence of the Ayyubids’ Global Reach'. Parergon 35.1 (2018): 35–60.

Dalton, H. ‘A Sulphur-crested Cockatoo in Fifteenth-Century Mantua: Rethinking Symbols of Sanctity and Patterns of Trade.’ Renaissance Studies 28.5 (2014): 676–94.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article:
Barlow, Roger (c.1483–1553) merchant and explorer, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.  http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/68874.

Book Chapters

Dalton, H. ‘Portraits, Pearls and Things “wch are very straunge to owres”: The lost collections of the Thorne/Withypoll Trading Syndicate, 1520–1550’, in Early Modern Merchants as Collectors, edited by Christina Anderson, pp. 31–46. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2017.

Dalton, H. ‘”Making Feast of the Prisoner”: Roger Barlow, Hans Staden, and Ideas of New World Cannibalism’.  In Religion, Visual Culture and the Supernatural in Early Modern Europe. An Album Amicorum for Charles Zika, edited by Jennifer Spinks and Dagmar Eichberger, pp. 187–211. Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

Dalton, H. ‘Into speyne to selle for slavys’: English, Spanish, and Genoese Merchant Networks and Their Involvement with the ‘Cost of Gwynea’ Trade before 1550`.  In Brokers Of Change: Atlantic Commerce And Cultures In Pre-Colonial Western Africa, edited by Toby Green, pp. 91–123. British Academy Proceedings Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Dalton, H. ‘Negotiating Fortune: English merchants in Early Sixteenth Century Seville’. In Bridging Early Modern Atlantic Worlds: People, Products and Practices on the Move, edited by Caroline Williams, pp. 57–73. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009.

Dalton, H. ‘Fashioning New Worlds from Old Words: Roger Barlow’s A Brief Summe of Geographie’. In Old Worlds, New Worlds: European Cultural Encounters 1100-1750, edited by Lisa Bailey, Lindsay Diggelmann and Kim Phillips, pp. 75–98. Turnhout: Brepols, 2009.

Invited Blog Entry

Dalton, H. 'The Cabot Project' for The Hakluyt Society's Blog about the History of Travel, Exploration & Global Encounters, 14 May 2015: https://hakluytsociety.wordpress.com/.

Awards, Grants and Scholarships


The University of Melbourne Early Career Researcher Grant to adapt and develop a transcription of The Ledger of Thomas Howell (d. 1537) for publication by The London Record Society (2015).

Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Award (DECRA) for three year project: 'Creating the Atlantic World: transnational relationships and family ties in trading networks and voyages of discovery, 1480–1580' (May 2014 to May 2017).

Keble Advanced Studies Centre funding as a resident Senior Research Visitor at Keble College Oxford to map networks of interlinked relationships across time and space in the late fifteenth and sixteenth century Atlantic, specifically looking at the role of the 'Spanish wife' and the influence of the Merchant Taylors (Michaelmas Term 2013).

Australian Research Council Centre for the History of Emotions History Research Support Schemes in SHAPS to fund my project: 'All at Sea: Emotional Turmoil and the Deep' (2013). Australian Research Council Centre for the History of Emotions Associate Investigator grant to fund project: ‘Emotional Support, Knowledge Transfer and Dynastic Ambition: the importance of women and strong family relationships in early sixteenth century Atlantic trading networks’ (2012).

Bauta funding (Canada) to The Cabot Project for two three-year projects. I am being funded to undertake further research on Sebastian Cabot as part of this project (2011 ongoing).

International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World at Harvard University short-term grant to support archival research in Atlantic history, 1500–1825. Awarded to facilitate research in archives in Seville (2010).

Australian Academy of the Humanities International Research Fellowship. Awarded for work with Dr Evan Jones at the University of Bristol, examining the involvement of English merchants in Genoese-led international trading networks and their role in Sebastian Cabot’s 1526 voyage from Andalusia to South America (2010).

Australian Research Council Network for Early European Research discretionary funding grant for research collaboration with UK scholars concerning European maritime merchants prior to the Reformation (April 2008).

Australian Postgraduate Award four-year scholarship (March 2003 to February 2007).

Melbourne Abroad Postgraduate Traveling Scholarship (2005).

Postgraduate Overseas Research Experience Scholarship (2004).


Alan Pearsall Postdoctoral Fellowship in Naval and Maritime History at the Institute of Historical research, School of Advanced Study, University of London (2009).


Between 2008 and 2014, Heather tutored and gave guest lectures at the Universities of Sheffield and Melbourne. In April 2016 she co-taught an intensive PhD at the University of Melbourne (New World Encounters) with Peter Mancall (University of Southern California).

Invited Seminar Papers and Conference Papers 2013-2016

December 2016. Medieval Round Table, The University of Melbourne. Paper – 'The Emperor, the Saint and the Sultan’s Cockatoo'.

December 2016. ILAS@40 Conference at La Trobe University, Melbourne. Paper – 'Putting on a brave face: adopting Old World battlefield apparitions as New World representations of triumph'.

November 2016. 'Hakluyt and the Discovery of the World', Hakluyt@400 Conference, University of Oxford (INVITED). Paper – 'The importance of John and Sebastian Cabot to Hakluyt's Project'.

November 2016. Early Modern Society, Birkbeck, University of London (INVITED). Paper – TBA.

August 2016. 13th International Conference on Urban History, Helsinki. Paper – 'Surviving Seville and prospering in the Iberian Atlantic: the crucial role of Spanish wives in early 16th century English trading networks'.

July 2016. 7th National Conference of the Society for Renaissance Studies, University of Glasgow. Paper – 'The Emperor, the Saint and the Sultan’s Cockatoo'.

June 2016. 'Emotions: Movement, Cultural Contact and Exchange, 1100-1800' Conference hosted by Freie Universität Berlin and ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Berlin. Paper – 'Putting on a brave face: adopting Old World battlefield apparitions as New World representations of triumph'.

March 2016. 'New World Encounters: A conversation on Early Modern Cultural Exchange with Heather Dalton (University of Melbourne), Peter C. Mancall (University of Southern California) and Alexander Nagel (Institute of Fine Arts, New York)', The University of Melbourne (INVITED).

November 2015. Brownbag seminar, School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne. Paper – ' Discovering the women in the history of discovery: Sebastian Cabot & the Conquistador’s Widow'.

July 2015. ANZAMEMS Tenth Biennial Conference, The University of Queensland. Paper – 'Suffering rewarded: An English merchant, marriage and The Inquisition in the post-Reformation Iberian Atlantic'.

March 2015. Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Berlin. Paper –'The Conquistador’s Widow: navigation, trade and gender in sixteenth-century Seville'.

March 2015. Historical Studies Lunchtime Lectures, The University of Bristol (INVITED). Paper –' Putting the women back in exploration history: Sebastian Cabot and Amerigo Vespuchi's daughter-in-law'.

July 2014. 'Diplomacy', Medieval Round Table, The University of Melbourne. Paper – 'A sad case of the 'the grigs': The pitfalls of diplomatic service in the contested Atlantic World'.

November 2013. Early Modern Discussion Group. The University of Sheffield. Paper – ‘The merchant’s daughter, the merchant’s wife: faith, knowledge and translation in England’s early sixteenth-century Atlantic trading networks'.

November AND October 2013. 
Centre for Early Modern Studies, Oxford (INVITED). Historical Studies Lunchtime Lectures, The University of Bristol, UK, October 2013 (INVITED). Paper – 'A Sulphur-crested Cockatoo in fifteenth century Mantua: Rethinking symbols of sanctity and patterns of trade'.

September 2013. 'Textual Cultures Symposium', The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Cluster at Keble College, Oxford (invited). Paper – ‘Trading in Words: Roger Barlow, Robert Thorne and the communication of New World “discoveries” in England prior to 1550'.

April 2013 - Early Modern Circle, The University of Melbourne. Paper – ‘With Pen & Needle: Creativity and Knowledge in a sixteenth century merchant’s family'.

February 2013. ANZAMEMS Conference, 'Cultures in Translation', Monash University. Paper – ‘The merchant’s daughter, the merchant’s wife: faith, knowledge and translation in England’s early sixteenth century Atlantic trading networks'.

June 2012. 'Early Modern Merchants as Collectors', Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Paper – ‘Portraits, pearls and things “wch are very straunge to owres”: the Thorne/Withypoll trading syndicate in the early 16th century Iberian Atlantic’.

December 2011. 'Emotions & Historical Change in Pre-Modern Europe', The University of Melbourne (INVITED). Paper – ‘Wonder, fear, fury, love and loyalty in the 16th-century Atlantic’.

November and April 2011. Early Modern Discussion Group Seminar, Department of History, The University of Sheffield (INVITED). The Early Modern Society, University of Melbourne. Paper – ‘The Cabot Project: International collaboration and the voyages to America of John Cabot and the merchants of Bristol'.

October AND June 2011. Sex, gender and emotion seminar, History and Gender Studies, University of Glamorgan (INVITED). 'Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern World', Conference of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, UWA Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and Perth Medieval and Early Renaissance Group, The University of Western Australia. Paper – ‘Wonder, fear and fury: Shipboard emotions on a 1526 voyage to the New World'.