Jessica Barker - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Jessica Barker

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Dr Jessica Barker

Lecturer in Medieval Art History
Jessica Barker

Jessica Barker is a specialist in medieval art, with a particular emphasis on sculpture. She studied at the University of Oxford and the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she was subsequently Henry Moore Postdoctoral Fellow. She joined The Courtauld in 2018, after two years as a lecturer in world art at the University of East Anglia.

Jessica’s research ranges across northern Europe and the Iberian peninsular, addressing questions of the macabre, gender, concealment and the body. Her monograph, Stone Fidelity: Marriage and Emotion in Medieval Tomb Sculpture, based on work from her doctoral thesis, explores the intersection of love and death in funerary art. She is the co-editor of Revisiting the Monument. Fifty Years Since Panofsky’s Tomb Sculpture, a collection of essays addressing Erwin Panofsky’s scholarship on tomb sculpture. She has published widely on death and commemoration, with articles in journals including Art History, Gesta, and The Sculpture Journal. Forthcoming publications include a study of the effigy of the Black Prince at Canterbury Cathedral and an exploration of voice and authority in liturgical books. Jessica is currently thinking about the lives and afterlives of the padrões, columns erected on the coast of West Africa by Portuguese navigators.

Jessica is one of the conveners of the Sculptural Processes Group, a network for art historians, curators, conservators and artists interested in processes of making across all periods and geographies.

Selected Publications


Selected Publications


  • “Frustrated Seeing: Scale, Visibility and a Fifteenth-Century Royal Monument in Portugal.” Art History 41, no. 2 (2018): 220–45.
  • “The Sculpted Epitaph— Word and Image in Funerary Sculpture.” The Sculpture Journal 26, no. 2 (2017): 235–64.
  • “Legal Crisis and Artistic Innovation in Thirteenth-Century Scotland.” In Invention and Imagination in British Art and Architecture. Special Edition of British Art Studies 6 (2017).
  • “Invention and Commemoration in Fourteenth-Century England: A Monumental ‘Family Tree’ at the Church of St Martin, Lowthorpe.” Gesta 56.1 (2017): 105–28.


  • “The Speaking Tomb: Ventriloquizing the Voices of the Dead.” In Picturing Death: 1200- 1600, eds. Stephen Perkinson and Noa Turel (Leiden: Brill, 2020).
  • “Stone and Bone: The Corpse, the Effigy and the Viewer in Late-Medieval Tomb Sculpture.” In Revisiting the Monument. Fifty Years Since Panofsky’s Tomb Sculpture, eds. Jessica Barker and Ann Adams (London: Courtauld Books On-Line: 2016).

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