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Dr Alixe Bovey

Medievalist at the University of Kent who specialises in the visual culture of the later Middle Ages.



Alixe Bovey is a historian who specialises in the visual culture of the later Middle Ages and is the director of the University’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, which offers a taught MA as well as research degrees.

Alixe is on research leave throughout the 2013/14 academic year.

Alixe received a BA in History and Medieval Studies from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada before obtaining a MA and a PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. She began her career as a curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the British Library, working on a project that has evolved into the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, and she joined the University of Kent in 2005. Here, her teaching focuses on the art and cultural history of Europe in the later Middle Ages. In 2008, she presented In Search of Medieval Britain, a six-part series for BBC4 that was broadcast as part of the channel’s Medieval Season.

Themes running through her work are pictorial narrative, word-image relations, the role of the visual arts in public ritual and private devotion, and the rhetorical and didactic functions of images. She has published on topics including literature, law, genealogy, medicine, devotion, and the liturgy, drawing especially in British, Netherlandish, French and Italian sources made between c. 1200-1500. Her monograph Jean de Carpentin's Book of Hours: The Genius of the Master of the Dresden Prayer Book (Paul Holberton, 2011), explored a remarkable yet little-known Netherlandish devotional manuscript of the early 1470s through its patronage, production, iconography, and controversial 20th-century provenance. In 2009, she convened the conference of the British Archaeological Association in Canterbury, the proceedings of which were published in 2013, and she is Hon. Transactions Editor for the Association.

Alixe has served as the director of the University's Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and she is currently running Material Witness, a skills training programme for PhD students in the CHASE consortium.

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Selected Publications



  • ‘Communion and Community: Eucharistic Narratives and their Audience in the Smithfield Decretals (BL, Royal MS 10 E IV),’ in The Social Life of Illumination: Manuscripts, Images and Communities in the Late Middle Ages, ed. Joyce Coleman, Mark Cruse, and Kathryn Smith (Brepols, 2013), 55-82.
  • ‘Articulate Giants’, in The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things [exhibition catalogue] (Hayward Touring, 2013), pp. 93-97.
  • ‘The Wollaton Antiphonal: Kinship and Commemoration’, in The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts: Texts, Owners and Readers, ed. Ralph Hanna and Thorlac Turville-Petre (York Medieval Press, 2011), pp. 30-40
  • ‘Renaissance bibliomania’, Viewing Reniassance Art, ed. Kim W. Woods, Carol M. Richardson and Angeliki Lymberopoulou (Yale University Press, 2007) pp. 93-129
  • ‘A Pictorial Ex Libris in the Smithfield Decretals: John Batayle, Canon of St Bartholomew’s, and his Illuminated Law Book’, English Manuscript Studies, 1100-1700: Decoration and Illustration in Medieval English Manuscripts 10 (2002) pp. 60-82

Shorter Contributions

  • Cat. no. 108, ‘The Smithfield Decretals’, in Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination, ed. Scot McKendrick, John Lowden, and Kathleen Doyle [exhibition catalogue] (British Library Press, 2011), pp. 324-325
  • ‘Bestiaries’ and ‘Books of Hours’, in The Oxford Companion to the Book, ed. M. F. Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • ‘The Chronicles of England: Lambeth Palace Library MS 6’, Lambeth Palace Library: Treasures from the Collections of the Archbishops of Canterbury [exhibition catalogue], ed. Richard Palmer and Michelle P. Brown (Scala, 2010), no. 18, p. 75
  • ‘Picturing Romance’, The History of British Art 600-1600, ed. Tim Ayers (Tate and the Yale Centre for British Art, 2008), p. 136
  • Cat. nos. 20, 91, 131, 137, 253, in Gothic Art for England 1400-1547, ed. Richard Marks and Paul Williamson [exhibition catalogue] (V&A Publications, 2003)
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  • External Member and Advisor, Research Degrees Committee, Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Member, Advisory Council, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
  • Hon. Transactions editor, British Archaeological Association
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • Member, The Bibliographical Society
  • Member, British Archaeological Association
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Dr Bovey is on study leave throughout the 2013/14 academic year

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Last Updated: 22/08/2014

Photos by Darrel Birkett