Alixe Bovey - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Alixe Bovey

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Dr Alixe Bovey

Head of Research

Alixe Bovey is a specialist in the art and culture of the later Middle Ages, with particular interests in illuminated manuscripts, pictorial narrative, and the relationship between myth and material culture across historical periods and geographical boundaries.

Alixe’s undergraduate degree in History and Medieval Studies at the University of Victoria (1995) led to an MA (1996) and PhD at The Courtauld Institute of Art (2000). She spent four years as a curator of manuscripts at the British Library (2000-2004) before moving to the School of History and the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent (2004-2014). She joined The Courtauld as Head of Research in 2015.

As The Courtauld’s Head of Research, Alixe is a member of the senior management team, and has special responsibility for The Courtauld’s research strategy, and for the activities of the Research Forum. She is also involved in the activities of the CHASE consortium as a member of its Training and Development Group, and as founder of Material Witness, a training programme for humanities research students who are engaged with the interpretation of physical objects.

Alixe’s current research project, entitled ‘Giants and the City: Mythic History as Material Cultural in London from the Middle Ages to 21st Century’, explores the history of two giants, usually known as Gogmagog and Corineus, from their invention by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the mid-12th century to the present, focusing especially on their material presence in the pageantry, legends, and identity of the City of London. This project is supported by a British Academy mid-career fellowship.

PhD supervision


  • Miguel de Campos Ayres, ‘Thinking with a Medieval Picture Book’, CHASE funded, supervised with Prof. John Lowden
  • Maggie Crosland, ‘Considering Utility and Adaptation in the Grandes Heures of Philip the Bold’, supervised with Prof. Susie Nash
  • Sophie Kelly, ‘Imagining the Unimaginable: The iconography of the Trinity in English Medieval Art, c. 1200-1350’, CHASE funded, supervised with Dr Emily Guerry (University of Kent)
  • Teresa Lane, ‘Representations of the Trinity in English Art 1000-1150’, CHASE funded, supervised with Prof. John Lowden
  • Oliver Mitchell, ‘The Wheel of Fortune in Medieval Visual Culture, 1100-1500’, CHASE funded, supervised with Prof. John Lowden
  • Naomi Speakman, ‘Gothic Ivory Carvings of the British Museum: Interpretations, Forgeries and Collectors’, AHRC funded (CDA scheme), supervised with Prof. John Lowden and Dr Dora Thornton (British Museum)

Recently completed

  • Jayne Wackett: ‘The Litlyngton Missal’ (University of Kent, 2014)
  • Toby Huitson: ‘The Medieval Ecclesiastical Staircase, Gallery and Upper Chamber: Form, Function and Symbolism in Romanesque and Transitional Gothic East Kent, c. 1000-1230’ (University of Kent, 2008)

Research interests

  • Medieval Art, with a focus on northern Europe, c. 1100-1500
  • The interplay between myth and material culture
  • Illuminated manuscripts
  • Pictorial narrative and word-image relations
  • The role of the visual arts in public ritual and private devotion

Recent publications

Books and edited books

  • (Editor) Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology at Canterbury. British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions XXXV (Leeds, 2013).
  • Jean de Carpentin’s Book of Hours: The Genius of the Master of the Dresden Prayer Book (Paul Holberton Press, 2011).
  • (Editor) Under the Influence: The Concept of Influence and the Study of Illuminated Manuscripts, ed. John Lowden and Alixe Bovey (Brepols, 2007)
  • The Tacuinum Sanitatis: An Early Renaissance Guide to Health (Sam Fogg, 2005)
  • The Chaworth Roll: A Fourteenth-Century Genealogy of the Kings of England (Sam Fogg, 2005)
  • Monsters and Grotesques in Medieval Manuscripts (The British Library/University of Toronto Press, 2002).

Essays and articles

  • ‘Communion and Community: Eucharistic Narratives and their Audience in the Smithfield Decretals (BL, Royal MS 10 E IV),’. The Social Life of Illumination: Manuscripts, Images and Communities in the Late Middle Ages. ed. Joyce Coleman, Mark Cruse, and Kathryn Smith (Brepols, 2013): 55-82.
  • ‘Articulate Giants’. The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things [exhibition catalogue] (Hayward Touring, 2013): 93-97.
  • ‘The Wollaton Antiphonal: Kinship and Commemoration’. The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts: Texts, Owners and Readers, ed. Ralph Hanna and Thorlac Turville-Petre (York Medieval Press, 2011): 30-40.
  • ‘Renaissance Bibliomania’. Viewing Renaissance Art, ed. Kim W. Woods, Carol M. Richardson and Angeliki Lymberopoulou (Yale University Press, 2007): 93-129.
  • ‘Influence and Illumination’. Introduction to Under the Influence: The Concept of Influence and the Study of Illuminated Manuscripts. ed. John Lowden and Alixe Bovey (Brepols, 2007): 1-10.
  • ‘A Pictorial Ex Libris in the Smithfield Decretals: John Batayle, Canon of St Bartholomew’s, and his Illuminated Law Book’. English Manuscript Studies 1100-1700: Decoration and Illustration in Medieval English Manuscripts 10, (2002): 60-82.

Recent/major grants

  • 2014: British Academy mid-career fellowship.

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