Jessica Barker - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Jessica Barker

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Dr Jessica Barker

Lecturer in Medieval Art History - Deputy Head of Admissions
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 teaching 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 forthcoming monograph, Stone Fidelity: Gender, Society and Tomb Sculpture in the Middle Ages, 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. Jessica is currently thinking about the lives and afterlives of the padrão, 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: Sound, Sight and the Voices of the Dead.” In Picturing Death: 1200- 1600, eds. Stephen Perkinson and Noa Turel (Leiden: Brill, 2019).
  • “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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