Dr Richard Ansell

Research Associate

School/Department: History Politics and International Relations, School of



I work on the social and cultural history of travel in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I grew up in North Yorkshire, studied at Cambridge, Brown and Oxford and have taught at Oxford, York, Leicester and Maynooth in Ireland. I first came to Leicester for a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, which resulted in my recent book on educational travel, and I am currently Research Associate on a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, entitled 'War, Travel and Cultural Exchange: William Gell and the British in Iberia, 1750-1830'.


I am currently working on a Leverhulme Research Project, 'War Travel and Cultural Exchange: William Gell and the British in Iberia 1750-1830' (2020-23), with Professor Roey Sweet and the British School at Rome. We are exploring Britain's relationships with Spain and Portugal - too often neglected in favour of Italy - through the records of travellers, readers and writers. Among our central themes, we examine British engagement with Iberia's Muslim past and challenge the assumption that war is always bad for travel and cultural exchange.

My first book, Complete Gentlemen: Educational Travel and Family Strategy, 1650-1750 (Oxford: British Academy/OUP, 2022), was the result of my British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Leicester. It moves beyond worn stereotypes of the 'Grand Tour', relating travel to broader questions of upbringing, identity, social mobility and elite formation.

I am also interested in other topics relating to travel, including travelling servants and the reception of printed accounts. For the former project, I am currently editing a collection of travel journals by eighteenth-century servants for publication in the British Academy's Records of Social and Economic History series, while the latter project has involved fellowships at the Huntington Library and the Clark Library (UCLA).


Complete Gentlemen: Educational Travel and Family Strategy, 1650-1750 (Oxford: British Academy/OUP, 2022).

'Reading and Writing Travels: Maximilien Misson, Samuel Waring and the Afterlives of European Voyages, c. 1687-1714', English Historical Review, 133:565 (2018), pp. 1446-1477.

'Foubert's Academy: British and Irish Elite Formation in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Paris and London', in Rosemary Sweet, Gerrit Verhoeven and Sarah Goldsmith, eds, Beyond the Grand Tour: Northern Metropolises and Early Modern Travel Behaviour (London: Routledge, 2017), pp. 46-64.

'Educational Travel in Protestant Families from Post-Restoration Ireland', Historical Journal, 58:4 (2015), pp. 931-58.

'The 1688 Revolution in Ireland and the Memory of 1641', in Mark Williams and Stephen Paul Forrest, eds, Constructing the Past: Writing Irish History, 1600-1800 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2010), pp. 73-93.


Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century social and/or cultural history.


HS7010: Historical Research, Historical Writing

Press and media

Travel and/or education in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


DPhil in History, University of Oxford.

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

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