Professor Susie NashDeborah Loeb Brice Professor of Renaissance Art
I came to the Courtauld in 1993 and have taught here on the art of northern Europe in the late medieval and renaissance period ever since. I have worked and published on illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, textiles, metalwork and panel painting from across northern Europe, including Spain. I am interested in how art was made, used and viewed, in the value and meaning of materials and their colour, combining evidence from primary archival and theological sources, with the physical and technical examination of the work itself. Current research projects include the inventories of the Valois courts of France, c. 1360-1422, as objects and texts; the tomb of Philip the Bold at the Chartreuse de Champmol in Dijon by Claus Sluter and Claus de Werve; the meaning and working of materials for funerary monuments, notably black Dinant marble; the Seilern Triptych in the Courtauld Collection and the Early Netherlandish painter the Master of Flémalle.
- Jessica Gasson, Woven Complexity: Understanding the textiles represented at the Burgundian Court, c.1420-c.1470 (CHASE funded)
- Emily Pegues, Jan Borreman and Sculptural Practice in the Burgundian Netherlands c. 1479-1520
- Charlotte Wytema, The Iconography of the ‘Virgin with Fifteen Symbols’ (CHASE funded)
- Nicholas Flory, Female Patroange to the Carthusian Order in the Burgundian Netherlands and Spain in the Fifteenth Century. (CHASE funded)
- Susannah Kingwill, Croix d’Or at the Valois Courts – an examination of the presence, perception, and function of metalwork crosses during the reigns of Charles V and Charles VI of France (1360 to 1422). (CHASE funded)
- Emma Capron, Patronage, Function and Reception of Altarpieces in Fifteenth-Century Avignon
- Lydia Hansell, Patronage of a Prelate: Artistic Provisions for the Religious Foundations of Cardinal Jean Rolin (1408-1483), 2019
- Ann Adams, Spiritual Provision and Temporal Affirmation: Tombs of the Chevaliers de la Toison d’Or from Philip the Good to Philip the Fair, 2017
- Harriette Peel, Commemorating the Family in Late Medieval Flanders, 2017
- Rosamund Garrett, Cantebury Cathedral’s Choir Tapestry: Patronage, Production, History and Display, 2016
- Anna Koopstra, Inventing Realities, Picturing Salvation: Making, Meaning And Patronage Of The Paintings Of Jean Bellegambe (c.1470-1535/36), 2016
- Nicola Jennings, The Chapel of Contador Saldaña at Santa Clara de Tordesillas: New proposals about the chapel and its role in the fashioning of identity by an early fifteenth-century court converso, 2015
- Susan L. Green ‘O Radix Jesse’: The iconography of the Tree of Jesse in Northern Europe in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, 2014
- Samantha Darell, Late Medieval Mother-of Pearl Carvings: Making and Meaning. An Examination of a Material in Context from the Late 14th to the Late 15th Century in France, England and Italy. 2013
- Mayumi Ikeda, The Fust Master: Illuminator of the First Mainz Presses 2010
- Melena Hope, Painted Chapels and Oratories in the Households of Fifteenth Century France, 2009
- Douglas Brine, Piety and Purgatory, Wall mounted memorials from the Southern Netherlands, 2006
- Late medieval art of all media in Northern Europe and Spain c. 1350-1500
- Materials, their supply, trade, cost, properties and meaning (rencently, in particular the materials of tombs, notably black Dinant marble and ‘alabaster’)
- Imagery, agency, and the making of meaning in religious works
- Sculpture and Sculptural polychromy
- lnventories at the Courts of France c. 1360-1422 (see below, Leverhulme Fellowship)
- Technical art history
- The visual historiography of Art History
Leverhulme Senior research Fellow 2016-2018. ‘Making Lists, Inventories and Objects at the Courts of France’
Over the last three years I have been the recipient of a major research fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, working on a book provisionally entitled ‘Making Lists: Inventories and Objects at the Courts of France’. At its heart it is a study of visual culture of the courts of France in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, but seen through the lens of a particular form of written artifact, the detailed inventories of the kings of France and the princes of the blood: these include Charles V (d. 1380), his brothers Jean de Berry (d. 1416), Philip the Bold (d. 1404), and Louis of Anjou (d. 1384), and Charles V’s son, Charles VI (d. 1422). These men (and it was mostly, if not exclusively, men) amassed vast collections of thousands of precious objects, termed collectively ‘joyaux’, which encompassed metalwork, precious jewels, chapel goods and textiles, robes, hats, tapestries, paintings, manuscripts, relics, dog collars, astrolabes, sundials, cameos, and a host of other ‘choses estranges’ like giants’ teeth and ostrich eggs. Most have since been lost, and much was dispersed and melted down even within their lifetimes, but recorded in a series of extraordinary, often loquacious, inventories – far more of them than I had thought at the start (I have discovered several previously unknown ones). My research has focused not simply on what was described in these inventories – as fascinating as that is – but on how it was described – in practical and linguistic terms. These inventories were often made ad vivam and in one case at least, that of Louis of Anjou, dictated by the prince himself. Louis’s inventory includes nearly 4,000 items and has individual descriptions of its finest objects extending to more than 40 folios: it is thus an unparalleled, and untapped, example of late-medieval ekphrastic description – and of the patron’s voice. These are fascinating as things in their own right, remarkably varied in their form and function: most are bound codices, but some are rolls; some are on paper, some on parchment; many teem with marginal notes recording absence and presence, damage and repair; others have clear, wide margins, with not a trace of later annotations, beautiful script, and illuminated frontispieces.I have tried in this project to piece together how they were made, by whom and why (never as obvious as it might seem). But I have also pondered how they were used over time, and how their significance shifted and developed: it seems to me that they often became repositories of cultural memory and ancestral power, symbols of French patrimony, long lost, but eloquent, nevertheless.
Some of the results of this research can be heard in my Professorial Lecture
- ‘Inventory as Royal Object. Charles V and the Enumeration of Kingship’, The Medieval Book as Object, Harlaxton Medieval Studies, ed. J. Luxford, Donnington 2021
Books and edited books
- Late Medieval Panel Paintings. Materials, Methods Meanings II (Paul Holberton 2015); editor
- Late Medieval Panel Paintings. Materials, Methods, and Meaning I (London, Paul Holberton, 2011); author and editor
- Trade in Artists’ Materials. Markets and Commerce in Europe to 1700, co- editor with Jo Kirby and Joanna Cannon (London, Archetype publications, 2010).
- Northern Renaissance Art ( Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008).
- ‘No Equal in Any Land’. André Beauneveu, Artist to the Courts of France and Flanders. (London, Paul Holberton Publishing in association with Musea Bruggee/Groeningemuseum, 2007).
- Between France and Flanders: Manuscript Illumination in Amiens in the Fifteenth Century. The British Library Studies in medieval Culture (London, British Library and Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1999)
- Robert Campin, New Directions in Scholarship co-editor with Susan Foister(1996)
Essays, articles and reviews
- ‘The Two Tombs of Philip the Bold’ Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 2019, pp. 1-112.
- The Myth of Luis Alincbrot: Relocating the Triptych with Scenes from the Life of Christ in the Prado’, Boletín del museo del Prado, vol. xxxii no 50, 2014, pp. 70-95. With translation in Spanish.
- ‘Les retables de Jacques de Baerze et Melchior Broederlam: Documentation, fabrication et signification’, in Les retables de Champmol et leur restauration (Dijon, Musee des Beaux Arts, 2014); also published in English
- ‘Erwin Panofsky’s Early Netherlandish Painting’ in The Books that Shaped Art History ed. R. Schone and J. P. Stonard, (London, Thames and Hudson, 2013), pp. pp. 88-101
- ‘Pour couleurs et autres choses pris de lui…the supply, cost, acquisition and employment of painters materials at the Burgundian court c. 1375-1415′ in Trade in Artists Materials (see above).
- ‘‘The Lord’s Crucifix of Costly Workmanship”: Colour, Collaboration and the Making of Meaning on the Well of Moses’ in Circumlitio. The Polychromy of Antique and Late Medieval Sculpture, ed. V. Brinkmann, O. Primavesi and M. Hollein (Frankfurt am Main, 2010), pp. 356-381
- ‘Claus Sluter’s ‘Well of Moses’ for the Chartreuse de Champmol Reconsidered’. Part I The Burlington Magazine, December 2005, pp. 798-809; Part II The Burlington Magazine, July 2006, pp. 456-69; Part III’, The Burlington Magazine, November 2008, pp. 724-741
- ‘The Parement de Narbonne, Context and Technique’, in C. Villers, ed., The Fabric of Images, European Paintings on Fabric Supports, 1300-1500, (London, Archetype Press, 2000
Other current/ongoing professional activities
- Trustee of the Caroline Villers fellowship
- Member of the International Advisory Board for the Department of Conservation and Technology
- External Examiner for PhDs at universities in the UK, Europe, Canada and the US.