Ann Adams - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Ann Adams

Search for:

Ann Adams

PhD student

Contact Details

Thesis: ‘Spiritual Provision and Temporal Affirmation: Tombs of the Chevaliers de la Toison d’Or from Philip the Good to Philip the Fair’

Supervised by Susie Nash

Funded by Arts & Humanities Research Council

The Toison d’Or (Golden Fleece), a chivalric order founded in 1430 by Philip the Good, the third Valois Duke of Burgundy, on the occasion of his marriage to Isabella of Portugal, became the Burgundian equivalent of the English Order of the Garter. This exclusive order – 24 knights originally, increased to a total membership of 30 in 1433 – was for ‘gentlemen of names and arms without reproach’.

My research uses membership of the Toison d’Or as a prism to examine a range of tombs and commemorative practices of individuals of high status. The starting point of a group of individuals, rather than extant remains, forces a consideration of what no longer survives and the research encompasses antiquarian drawings, wills, other visual evidence of devotional activity and surviving tombs of family members.

A case study approach is being adopted, with width of coverage facilitating the identification of patterns. Themes that are emerging are the use of tombs, and particularly heraldry, in the construction and maintenance of noble identity, the relationship with religious foundations and the combination of form and materials in signaling affiliation.

Alongside this I have maintained an interest in the tombs of duchesses of Burgundy.


  • The Courtauld Institute of Art
    2011-Present: PhD candidate supervised by Professor Susie Nash
    2009-2010: M.A. History of Art. Dissertation title: ‘Funerary Monuments of Burgundian Duchesses: Location, Representation and Meaning’ (Distinction)
    2007-2008: Graduate Diploma
  • University of Cambridge, Clare College
    B.A. Economics (First class)

Research interests

  • Burgundian state under the Valois dukes
  • Funerary monuments
  • Female commemoration
  • Court culture
  • Chivalry
  • Uncovering the neglected

Conference papers and lectures

  • 2015, March, RSA, Berlin: Wealth, Power and Status: Nicolas Rolin (c. 1376-1461) and Pieter Bladelin (c. 1410-1472) – fluidity in social classes in the 15th century Burgundian State.
  • 2015, March, ‘Mary of Burgundy: The Reign, the Persona and the Legacy of a European Princess, Brussels: Familial affection or Staking a Claim ? The Tombs of Isabella of Bourbon and Jacques de Bourbon Commissioned by Mary of Burgundy
  • 2014, November, ‘Commemoration of the Dead: new approaches, new perspectives, new material’, co-sponsored by the Monumental Brass Society and the Church Monuments Society, IHR, London: Revealed/Concealed: Monumental Brasses on Tomb-chests – the examples of John I, Duke of Cleves and Catherine of Bourbon
  • 2014, March, Lille-Leuven-London conference 13, Lille: The tomb of Louis de Gruuthuse: the influence of Edward IV, King of England.
  • 2014, Jan., Gender and Medieval Studies Conference, Winchester: Post-mortem diplomacy: the tombs of Anne of Burgundy and Isabella of Bourbon.
  • 2013, July, International Medieval Congress, Leeds: To Live Nobly and to Marry Well – Tombs of Fifteenth-Century Burgundian Knights.
  • 2013, Feb., 18th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Student Symposium, The Courtauld Institute of Art: Anne of Burgundy, Duchess of Bedford: A Bridge between Burgundy, France and England – In Death as in Life?
  • 2011, Dec., Relocated Objects: three approaches to three dimensions, The Courtauld Institute of Art: The Tomb of Isabella of Bourbon.

Other academic activity

  • 2015 Publishing the proceedings of the June 2014 Tomb Sculpture conference through Courtauld Books Online.
  • 2014 Co-organiser of a one-day conference on 15 November: Commemoration of the Dead. New Approaches, New Perspectives, New Material.
  • 2014 Co-organiser of a one-day conference on 21 June: ‘Fifty Years after Panofsky’s Tomb Sculpture. New Approaches, New Perspectives, New Material
  • 2013-14 Paleography course (Institute of Historical Research)
  • 2013-14 CHASE Material Witness training programme:
  • 2012-13: Co-organiser of a series of three workshops held at the Courtauld Institute, under the auspices of the Research Forum, entitled ‘Art and Death’.

Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close