Jane Stewart

PhD Student

The Monument to Sir James Hales in Canterbury Cathedral

Supervised by Dr Tom Nickson

The monument to Sir James Hales and his family in the nave of Canterbury cathedral is the only surviving example of 16th-century English funerary art depicting a sea burial. In my thesis I aim to explore this monument, which has received little coverage by art historians, asking why it was made in this highly unusual form. I will also question why ship imagery and sea burial is such a rare feature of funerary art of this period, a time of burgeoning global maritime enterprise, exploration and naval warfare with Spain. This absence is particularly striking when contrasted with the popularity of maritime imagery in other areas of art and material culture. I will explore what this can reveal about contemporary attitudes, emotions and taboos regarding seafaring. This thesis will also consider the monument’s original installation in Canterbury cathedral, shortly after the radical disruption of the Reformation, exploring continuities with the medieval cathedral as well as change. The monument will serve as a ‘frontispiece’ through which to explore visual, literary and material culture in Elizabethan England, contributing to recent reassessments of maritime histories and the origins of Empire. 


PhD Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art (2021 – present)

MA History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art (2019-20), Awarded Courtauld New Direction Scholarship. Special Option: ‘England Europe and Beyond: Art, Identity, Trade and Politics in the Middle Ages’

Dissertation: ‘The Chantry Chapels of Cardinal Beaufort and Bishop Waynflete in Winchester Cathedral’ (Awarded Sam Fogg Prize for a Pre-1500 Dissertation Topic, 2020)

2018-19 Courtauld Graduate Diploma in the History of Art 

1983-86 Oxford University BA (Hons) English Language and Literature

Research Interests

Chantry chapels, death and funerary commemoration in the 15th and 16th centuries

Art of trade, encounter and politics (including maritime art) 


‘The Chantry Chapels of Cardinal Beaufort and Bishop Waynflete in Winchester Cathedral’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 175 (2022, forthcoming) – (Awarded Reginald Taylor & Lord Fletcher Essay Prize)