Workshop on Medieval Wall Paintings, 17 May 2023, The Courtuald, Vernon Square Campus, London

17th May 2023, 10am – 4pm, The Courtauld, Vernon Square Campus, London (in person) 

Wall paintings, as one of the only forms of public art surviving from the Middle Ages, are an invaluable resource for art-historians, historians, and literary specialists, among others. However, there are also many challenges to wall painting research: it can be difficult to ‘read’ their imagery, they are often highly degraded, and crucial archival material is often dispersed and difficult to interpret.

This interdisciplinary research workshop invites participation from PhD and Early Career Researchers in art-history, history, literature, conservation, and other disciplines whose research projects involve medieval wall paintings. As well as establishing a network of researchers working on related material, we will discuss practicalities and methods of research into wall paintings. You will have the opportunity to see the National Wall Painting Survey held at The Courtauld, which contains a vast archive of material covering almost 8,000 wall paintings in the British Isles. We will also hear from wall paintings conservator Emily Howe (who has worked on the mural schemes at Eton and Westminster) about using conservation reports as part of the study of historic wall paintings.

This workshop offers the opportunity to:

  • Examine different methods of researching wall paintings.
  • Analyse the uses and interpretation of conservation reports for scholars working in other disciplines. 
  • Assess the different types of sources for researching wall paintings.Discuss the issues surrounding the dating of wall paintings, and the various methods for doing so.
  • Consider the distinctive iconographies found in wall painting and their potential relevance to broader historical enquiries. 

As part of the workshop, all participants will be invited to give a ten-minute lightening talk on the role of wall paintings in their research

Whilst this workshop places emphasis on English wall painting due to the connection with the National Wall Painting Survey at The Courtauld, we are keen to consider wall paintings as a global phenomenon. Therefore, we encourage submissions from a broad geographical scope pre-1550.

This workshop is supported by the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE), AHRC.

Travel bursaries available for travel within England, capped at £100 per person.
To apply, please send a CV and a short statement (300 words) on the role of wall paintings within your research to by Friday 14th April 2023.


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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