Dr Nicola Jennings

Associate Lecturer

Nicola Jennings completed a PhD at The Courtauld Institute of Art in early 2015 on The Chapel of Contador Saldaña at Santa Clara de Tordesillas: New Proposals about its Original Appearance and Role in the Fashioning of Identity by an Early Fifteenth-Century Converso.  Nicola did an MA in Early Netherlandish Painting at The Courtauld, has worked at the National Gallery, City University, and the Colnaghi Foundation of which she was Director from 2017 to 2021. She is currently Director of the Athena Art Foundation which uses digital platforms to promote pre-20th century art from around the world.

Her principal research interests are Iberian and northern European sculpture, painting and drawing in the fifteenth, sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, as well as patronage of these arts by conversos or converted Jews. She is also interested in polychrome sculpture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and recently co-curated The Colour of Anxiety: Race, Sexuality and Disorder in Victorian Sculpture at the Henry Moore Institute.


  • PhD, The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • MA, The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Diplôme de Recherche, Institut Universitaire d’Etudes du Développement, Geneva
  • BA University of Sussex


  • BA3 Special Option Course. El Arte de la Pintura: Art and Theory in Early Golden Age Seville. 2023-2024
  • Lead, Showcasing Art History Lecture Series (January – March) 2023: Flesh, Spirit, Power: The Body in Spanish Art 1400s to 1700s
  • BA2 Constellations Seminar. Medieval Toledo: Exchange and Appropriation in a Multicultural City. 2019-2021
  • BA3 Special Option Course. El Arte de la Pintura: Art and Theory in Early Golden Age Seville. 2018-2019
  • BA1 Topic Course.  The Arts of Spanish Iberia, 1350-1550.   2015-2018.
  • Teaching Assistant, Foundations (Medieval block), The Courtauld Institute of Art (Autumn Term 2014)
  • Lecturer, City University, London 2005-2009

Research interests

  • The demand for northern European craftsmanship in fifteenth- and early-sixteenth century Iberia and the impact of this on local production
  • Panel painting in fifteenth-century Castile and northern Europe.
  • Sculpture and decorative stonework in fifteenth-century Castile and northern Europe.
  • The patronage of conversos in fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Castile.
  • The collections of paintings and tapestry belonging to Isabella of Castile and her courtiers.
  • Sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Spanish painting and polychrome sculpture.

Recent and forthcoming publications

“From Altar to Apse: Netherlandish Altarpieces and the Development of the Castilian Retablo,” forthcoming chapter in Netherlandish Carved Altarpieces, edited by Ethan Matt Kavaler, to be published by Brepols in 2024.

“The Use of Colour and the Femme Fatale in Late Victorian Sculpture,” Essays on Sculpture, 81 (Feb 2023), Henry Moore Institute.

“Making a Virtue out of a Necessity: Lorenzo Mercadante’s Use of Terracotta in Seville Cathedral,” in The Materiality of Terracotta Sculpture in Early Modern Europe, edited by Zuzanna Sarnecka and Agnieszka Dziki, Taylor and Francis, 2023.

Review of Luisa Roldán by C. Hall-van den Elsen, Apollo, November 2021, pp. 98-99.

“Imitation, Inspiration or Innovation? Juan de Flandes and the Collection of Paintings of Isabella of Castile,” in Flandes by Substitution: Copies of Flemish Masters in the Hispanic World (1500-1700), proceedings of conference organised by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage of Belgium (KIKIRPA), February 2017, Brepols 2021.

“Reforming the Church and Re-Framing Identity: Converso Prelates and Artistic Patronage in Fifteenth-Century Castile,” in The New Christians and Religious Reform in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, K. Ingram, ed., Brill, 2020.

“Bermejo’s Granada Panel: Sampling the Art of Flanders for the Queen,” in El universo pictórico de Bartolomé Bermejo, proceedings of conference organised at the Museo del Prado in November 2018, Museo del Prado, 2021.

“At Auckland Castle,” London Review of Books 42, 11, 4 June 2020.

Inventio and Imitatio: The Appropriation of Valois Style by a Converso Contador Mayor,” in Gothic Architecture in Spain: Invention and Imitation, Tom Nickson and Nicola Jennings, eds (London: Courtauld Books Online: February 2020).

“At the National Gallery: Bartolomé Bermejo,” London Review of Books 41, 17, 12 Sept. 2019.

Converso Patronage, Self-Fashioning, and Late-Gothic Art and Architecture in 15th-Century Castile,” in Jews and Muslims Made Visible in Christian Iberia and Beyond, 14th to 18th Centuries, B. Franco Llopis and A. Urquízar-Herrera eds. (Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2019).

Review of “Bartolomé Bermejo” exhibition at the Museo Nacional del, Burlington Magazine 161, no. 1393, April 2019.

“Made in Iberia: A New Look at the Retable of Contador Saldaña in Santa Clara de Tordesillas,” in Netherlandish Art and Luxury Goods in Renaissance Spain, D. van Heesch, R. Janssen, J. Van der Stock, eds. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2018.)

Review of Rogier van der Weyden y España edited by L. Campbell and J. J. Pérez Preciado, Renaissance Quarterly, Volume 71, Issue 4, Winter 2018 , pp. 1465-1466.

“Mesa, Martínez Montañés and the gods of Sevillian sculpture,” in Juan de Mesa: The Master of Passion, J.L. Romero Torres et al., eds. (Madrid: Coll & Cortés, 2018).

“Identifying the hand involved in a Man of Sorrows produced in the workshop of the Master of Artés,” co-authored with Isidro Puig, in Late Gothic Painting in the Crown of Aragon and the Hispanic Kingdoms, F. Fité and A. Velasco, eds. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2018).

“’Middle-Class’ Men Who Would Be Nobles in Fifteenth-Century Castile, Flanders and Burgundy,” co-authored with Ann Adams in Memorializing the Middle Classes in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, A. Leader, ed. (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2018).

“Spanish Sculpture and the Beginnings of Renaissance Style,” in Alonso Berruguete: Renaissance Sculptor, N. Jennings, ed. (Madrid, Coll & Cortés, 2017), pp. 11-34.

Review of Renaissance Gothic by E.M. Kavaler, the Journal of the British Archeological Association, vol. 170, issue 1, 2017, pp. 223-225.

Review of Ferdinandus Dei gracia Rex Aragonum. La efigie de Fernando II el Católico en la iconografía medieval by M. Serrano Colland Effigies Regis Aragonum. La imagen figurativa del rey de Aragón en la Edad Media  by M. Serrano Coll, Studies in Iconography 38 (2017), pp. 238-242.

“Lorenzo Mercadante: Primus Inter Pares of Northern-European Sculptors in Fifteenth-Century Castile,” in Lorenzo Mercadante. Virgen del Buen Fin, N. Jennings, ed. (Madrid: Coll & Cortés, 2016), pp. 13-44.

“The Chapel of Contador Saldaña at Santa Clara de Tordesillas and the Fashioning of a Noble Identity by an Early Fifteenth-Century Converso,” Hispanic Research Journal, vol. 17, 2016.

Review of El pintor Joan de Joanes y su entorno familiar. Los Macip a través de las fuentes literarias y la documentación de archivo by I. Puig, X. Company & L. Tolosa, Immediations vol. 4, no. 1 (2016).

“Virgin and Child attributed to the Master of Miraflores” in Late Medieval Panel Paintings II: Materials, Methods, Meanings, S. Nash, ed. (London: Sam Fogg, 2015).

Contribution to catalogue entries in Susie Nash, Late Medieval Panel Paintings: Materials, Methods, Meanings (London: Sam Fogg, 2011).

Contribution to catalogue entries in Compton Verney: A Guide to the Collections (Compton Verney: Scala Publishing 2010).


Other activities

  • Co-editor, Colnaghi Studies Journal
  • Member and former committee member and chair of ARTES, Iberian and Latin American Visual Culture Group.