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Bather in the Woods (detail), Camille Pissarro, 1895. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A history of the clean body is also a history of societal expectation, technological innovation, class, privacy and spare time.

Henry III with representations of Westminster Abbey and  two church bells, from the ‘Chronicle of England’, by Peter de Langtoft, c.1307-27 © British Library Board/Bridgeman Images.

The complex reign of Henry III, the fourth longest in English history.

Adah Isaacs Menken’s performances  in Mazeppa, 19th century © Bridgeman Images.

Exploring Paris, city of horses.

View of the Apostolic Palace, from St Peter's Square, Rome. All but five papal conclaves since 1455 have been held here. Photo, Giacomo Brogi, c. 1860-c. 1890. Rijksmuseum.

The cultural politics of papal Rome.

Karl Marx Monument, Chemnitz. Wiki Commons.

Tracing Karl Marx’s Jewish ancestry.

A drunkard stands before his poor family and swears by the Holy Bible. Wood-engraving by J. Johnston, c. 1864, after G. Cruikshank. Wellcome Collection.

A richly textured portrait of the living standards of women and children in Victorian Britain.

Niccolò Machiavelli (detail), by Antonio Maria Crespi Castoldi, 17th century © SZ Photo/Scherl/Bridgeman Images.

Discovering Machiavelli’s talent for losing.

Theodore Roosevelt, c.1903 © New York Public Library/Bridgeman Images.

How presidential images show us that in politics, as in entertainment, appearances matter.

A young person applying makeup, 1927 © SZ Photo/Scherl/Bridgeman Images.

History at the boundaries of gender.  

Nieu Amsterdam, 17th-century Dutch engraving © New York Public Library/Bridgeman Images.

Understanding the power relations that transoceanic settlements and trade opened up.