Portrait of Dr Emily Guerry

Dr Emily Guerry

Senior Lecturer in Medieval European History

About

Born in San Francisco, Dr Emily Guerry attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a D-1 Volleyball scholarship and left with a passion for medieval history. She received the Chancellor's Award and graduated with a double major in Art History and History in 2007. Moving to the UK, she pursued her graduate work at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. In 2010, she began her fieldwork as a visiting fellow at the Centre des Monuments Nationaux in Paris and in 2011 she lectured at the University of York. After completing her PhD in 2012, she began a three-year Junior Research Fellowship at Merton College, University of Oxford, before joining the School of History at the University of Kent, where she is delighted to continue her teaching and research at the campus in Canterbury, in the shadow of its glorious Gothic cathedral, and in Paris, where she is convening a new MA programme.

Research interests

Emily examines the relationship between religious devotion and artistic representation in the Middle Ages, so her research takes an interdisciplinary and inclusive approach to visual, material, and ceremonial culture as well as historical, political, and liturgical source material. She is particularly interested in how the veneration of relics influenced Christian iconography. Some of her current projects focus on the iconography of Gothic wall paintings, royal patronage, pilgrimage and the development of religious cults. If you asked her to name her favourite saint, she would have to say Saint Louis; Saint Thomas Becket of Canterbury would be a very close runner-up.

Teaching

Emily teaches modules on Gothic art and architecture, the 'Art of Death', and the history of the Crusades. She is also the convenor of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies MA in Paris.

Supervision

Emily is currently supervising eight PhD students who are working on topics related to medieval visual culture. While it would be difficult for her to take on many more students at the moment, she would be happy to speak with enthusiastic MA and PhD candidates who are considering projects related to her current research interests.    

Publications

Book

  • Guerry, E. (2018). The wall paintings of the Sainte-Chapelle: Passion, Devotion, and the Gothic Imagination. London: Harvey Milley.

Book section

  • Guerry, E. (2016). Failure and Invention: King Henry III, the Holy Blood, and Gothic Art at Westminster Abbey. in: Quash, B., Rosen, A. and Reddaway, C. eds. Visualising a Sacred City: London, Art and Religion. I. B. Tauris, pp. 47-88. Available at: http://www.ibtauris.com/books/humanities/history/regional%20%20national%20history/european%20history/british%20%20irish%20history/visualising%20a%20sacred%20city%20london%20art%20and%20religion.
  • Guerry, E. and Binski, P. (2015). Seats, relics, and the rationale of images in Westminster Abbey: Henry III to Edward II. in: Westminster Part I: The Art, Architecture and Archaeology of the Royal Abbey. Routledge, pp. 180-204. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/Westminster-Part-I-The-Art-Architecture-and-Archaeology-of-the-Royal/Rodwell-Tatton-Brown/p/book/9781910887240.
    The aim of this paper is to illuminate the wall- and panel paintings in the sanctuary and
    south transept of Westminster Abbey by considering their relationship to the ways these
    spaces were furnished and used. The study of liturgy, inferring behaviour from texts,
    tends to idealization and does not always take into account human contingencies, that
    is, what actually happened. In cases such as Westminster’s, the well-documented unruliness of courts reminds us of brute reality. The sedilia in the sanctuary were made in a
    context that witnessed conditions of actual riot during court ritual. The south transept
    paintings adorned a complex space used or viewed by monks and layfolk. The murals
    amplified the relic cults of the church and were part of a viewing situation whose agency
    depended in part upon access routes and seating of uncertain nature. We take these cases
    in turn, beginning with seating and images in the south transept. Our contributions are
    initialled separately.
  • Guerry, E. and Binski, P. (2015). Seats, Relics, and the Rationale of Images in Westminster Abbey, Henry III to Edward II. in: Rodwell, W. and Tatton-Brown, T. eds. Westminster - The Art, Architecture and Archaeology of the Royal Palace and Abbey Part 1. London: Maney.
    The aim of this paper is to illuminate the wall and panel paintings in the sanctuary and south transept of Westminster Abbey by considering their relationship to the ways these spaces were furnished and used. The study of liturgy, inferring behaviour from texts, tends to idealization and does not always take into account human contingencies, that is, what actually happened. In cases such as Westminster’s, the well-documented unruliness of courts reminds us of brute reality. The sedilia in the sanctuary were made in a context that witnessed conditions of actual riot during court ritual. The south transept paintings adorned a complex space used or viewed by monks and layfolk. The murals amplified the relic cults of the church and were part of a viewing situation whose agency depended in part upon access routes and seating of uncertain nature. We take these cases in turn, beginning with seating and images in the south transept.
  • Guerry, E. (2013). A Time and a Place for Suffering: Picturing the Vie de Saint Denis in Paris. in: Sarnecka, Z. and Fedorowicz-Jackowska, A. eds. Artistic translations between fourteenth and sixteenth centuries: international seminar for young researchers; proceedings. University of Warsaw Press, pp. 69-94. Available at: http://opac.regesta-imperii.de/lang_en/anzeige.php?sammelwerk=Artistic+translations+between+fourteenth+and+sixteenth+centuries.
    Various striking similarities between art from geographically distant locations tempted art historians to analyse and compare specific examples of regional artistic solutions. Until recently most scholars placed their efforts on identifying influences stimulating creation of visually similar art in different locations. Presently the term influence itself was subject to revision, followed by the rejection of its implicit straightforward direction of any artistic connection, and instead arguably more useful term translation had been introduced

Other

  • Guerry, E. (2014). Louis Steinheil (1814–1885), La Décollation de saint Jean Baptiste, état actuel et état restitué. [Text]. Available at: https://www.editions-du-patrimoine.fr/Librairie/Catalogues-d-exposition/Saint-Louis.

Review

  • Guerry, E. (2014). Review: Memory and Commemoration in Medieval Culture Brenner, E., Cohen, M. and Franklin-Brown, M. eds. Reviews in History [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.14296/RiH/2014/1601.

Forthcoming

  • Guerry, E. (2020). Picturing martyrdom in medieval Europe: The wall paintings of Saint Thomas Becket in England, Italy, and Spain. British Art Studies.
  • Guerry, E., Binski, P. and Wrapson, L. (2020). The wall paintings of Angers Cathedral. Harvey Miller.
  • Guerry, E. (2019). The wall paintings of the Sainte-Chapelle. Harvey Miller.
  • Guerry, E. (2018). The Son of Man crowned in thorns: Gothic ivories and the invention of tradition in thirteenth-century Paris. Gesta.
    This article retraces the emergence of an iconographic motif in which Christ wears the Crown of Thorns in French Gothic representations of the Last Judgment. A clutch of devotional ivories produced in Paris from the second half of the thirteenth century testifies to the canonization and circulation of this new devotional type. The image in question appears to be site-specific invention related to the visual culture of the Sainte-Chapelle, the royal chapel in Paris commissioned by King Louis IX to house the Crown of Thorns relic, completed in 1248. Despite the amount of destruction and restoration in this royal monument, the extant evidence implies that the original composition of the upper chapel portal contained a Last Judgment scene with Christ wearing the Crown of Thorns. As the new locus sanctus of the Passion, the design of the Sainte-Chapelle invested an unprecedented level of symbolic significance into the cult of the Crown by projecting novel and effective visual strategies. Many of its inventive decorative programmes would be copied and replicated by artisans elsewhere, including Gothic ivories. In this paper, various Gothic ivories are examined as invaluable resources in the revaluation of a lost monumental artwork and a testament to the fluidity and currency of iconographic traditions in thirteenth-century Paris.
  • Guerry, E. (2018). La peinture murale: Le cycle de Saint Maurille dans la cathédrale d'Angers. in: Angers: La Grâce d'une cathédrale. France: La Nuée Bleu éditions. Available at: https://gracedunecathedrale.wixsite.com/angers.
  • Guerry, E. (2018). Review: Guillebert de Mets, Description de la ville de Paris, 1434 Mullally, E. ed. Speculum 93.
  • Guerry, E. (2017). Prototypes and Archetypes: Redefining the iconographic relationship between St Stephen's Chapel in Westminster and the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. in: St Stephen's Chapel and the Palace of Westminster. London: The Paul Mellon Centre, pp. 1-44. Available at: https://www.virtualststephens.org.uk/about.
  • Guerry, E. (2017). A path prepared for them by the Lord: Saint Louis, Dominican diplomacy and the Odyssey of Jacques and André of Longjumeau. in: The Medieval Dominicans: Books, Buildings, Music, and Liturgy. Belgium: Brepols, pp. 1-31. Available at: https://torch.ox.ac.uk/influences-dominican-order-middle-ages-3.
  • Guerry, E. (2017). Crowning Paris: King Louis IX, Archbishop Cornut, and the translation of the Crown of Thorns. Philadelphia, USA: American Philosophical Society.
    When King Louis IX of France acquired the Crown of Thorns from the Latin Emperor Baldwin II of Constantinople, the status of this Passion relic would be forever changed. This book examines the impact of this relic acquisition and the influence of ritual, text, and image on the development of the devotional imagination in medieval France. In August 1239, the ceremonial culture staged throughout the province of Sens galvanized interest in the new royal cult across the Capetian kingdom. Thereafter, the composition and circulation of the text known as the Historia Susceptionis Coronae Spineae informed readers and listeners of the history, itinerary, and significance of this translation event. Soon after its completion, compilers adapted the content of the Historia for the production of liturgical offices to celebrate the translatio of the Crown relic in France. What follows is the first sustained study of the Historia and its legacy. It upholds the attribution of Archbishop Gauthier Cornut of Sens as its author and exposes his pivotal role in re-defining the symbolic value of the Crown of Thorns in salvation history.
  • Guerry, E. (2017). "Reach out your hand and put it in my side": The iconographic transmission and transformation of 'Doubting Thomas' between Latin East and West. Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief.
    The transference of devotional ideas from the Holy Land, with its myriad archetypal pilgrimage destinations and prestigious relics, to Europe is one of many cultural consequences of the Crusades. Specifically, the deliverance of high-status relics and their decorated reliquaries from the Latin East to rulers in the Latin West directly facilitated a surge in the establishment of powerful new cults- and these cults, in turn, needed effective images. In the case of monarchs like the Capetian King Louis IX and Plantagenet King Henry III, their reception of sacred items with a Jerusalemian provenance instigated displays of piety via public processions that framed each translation event as a civic 'adventus'. Then, once the relics were installed in their lavish oratories, Gothic artists adorned the relics' new 'locus sanctus' with site-specific paintings. In each instance, the extant wall paintings of the Crucifixion in the Sainte-Chapelle and Doubting Thomas in Westminster Abbey showcase unusual iconographic compositions that actively break with long-standing traditions of representation in Europe. It is possible that these seemingly novel reinventions actually originated in the Holy Land. By examining a series of surviving objects from the Levant (including reliquaries, mosaics, and paintings) that testify- as material witnesses- to the origins of these iconological creations, this paper will compare and contrast two case studies in attempt to show how the Crusades enabled the movement of relics -from east to west- and, in so doing, reshaped the European religious imagination.'
  • Guerry, E. (2016). Crowning Paris : King Louis IX, Archbishop Cornut, and the Translation of the Crown of Thorns. Philadelphia: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society.
    The translation of Crown of Thorns from Constantinople to Paris marked the symbolic reinvention of the object, its new owner and final destination. When the Latin Emperor Baldwin II (1217, r. 1237–1273) offered the relic to King Louis IX of France (1214, r. 1226–1270, canonized 1297), this diplomatic transaction was celebrated as gift from God. A multitude of events orchestrated in honor of the Crown's arrival in August 1239, which included public displays, sermons, vigils, and processions of the relic, signified the divine anointment of the Capetian kingdom. The acquisition of more Passion relics in 1241 appeared to confirm what the initial festivities of the Crown first revealed: That Christ had selected France for the veneration of his Passion. In the text known presenty as the Historia Susceptionis Coronae Spineae, a melodical office composed for the inaugural feast of the Crown in August 1240, Archbishop Gauthier Cornut of Sens (d.1241) explains how and why the relic came to France and provides an eyewitness description of the final stages of the Crown's journey, culminating in its joyous arrival in Paris. This monograph will explore the content and significance of the Historia, arguing that its author is responsible for a fast-flourishing and enduring cult. The representation of the Crown's translation in the 1240s glass of the Sainte-Chapelle and Tours Cathedral is examined in light of its appropriation of the Historia text for narrative design. With an in-depth analysis of the Historia, this account will expose the legacy of Cornut as the preliminary architect behind the construction of the French cult of the Crown of Thorns.
  • Guerry, E. (2016). Le visage du Christ dans la Sainte-Chapelle: Nouvelles découvertes et les murales gothiques. in: Les Saintes-Chapelles du XIIIe à XVIIIe siècles: Arts, Politique, Religion. Brepols: Turnout.
  • Guerry, E. (2016). Failure as Invention : King Henry III, the Holy Blood, and Gothic Art at Westminster Abbey. in: Visual Culture and Religion in London. Pickering and Chatto.
    In the early morning of 13 October 1247, the king of England removed his crown and walked barefoot through the streets of London. This extraordinary display of royal humility served a singular purpose: Henry III (r. 1217–1272) had received a relic of the Holy Blood and he intended to establish a new cult in Westminster Abbey. This particular relic was putatively collected from the wound in Christ's side caused by the pierce of the Holy Lance. To celebrate his acquisition of this precious measure of Christ's blood, Henry carried his new relic in a pious procession, walking from the Cathedral of Saint Paul's to Westminster. Despite the spectacle of the ceremonies staged in honour of the relic's arrival, the cult of the Holy Blood immediately faced skepticism and failed to attract devotion. It was found to be an extremely problematic relic and, ultimately, a confluence of historical, financial, and theological concerns irrevocably undermined its status. While this chapter cannot innumerate every possible factor that led to the collapse of the Westminster cult, which has been examined in depth by Nicholas Vincent, it will examine the ceremonial culture of the relic's reception in London and offer a comparative study with the recent and popular processions in Paris. Although the cult of the Holy Blood failed to flourish throughout the Plantagenet kingdom, it did inspire innovative designs in Westminster Abbey. In the end, this discussion will offer a novel interpretation of the legacy of the Holy Blood cult in Gothic art.
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