Alixe Bovey

Alixe Bovey


  • Strand, Somerset House

    WC2R 0RN London

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Alixe Bovey is a specialist in the art and culture of the later Middle Ages, with particular interests in illuminated manuscripts, pictorial narrative, and the relationship between myth and material culture across historical periods and geographical boundaries. She is Dean & Deputy Director of The Courtauld, and Head of Research; she is also a member of its History of Art Department. 

Alixe’s undergraduate degree in History and Medieval Studies at the University of Victoria (1995) led to an MA (1996) and PhD at The Courtauld Institute of Art (2000). She spent four years as a curator of manuscripts at the British Library (2000-2004) before moving to the School of History and the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent (2004-2014). She joined The Courtauld as Head of Research in 2015.

Alixe’s current research project, entitled ‘Giants and the City: Mythic History as Material Cultural in London from the Middle Ages to 21st Century’, explores the history of two giants, usually known as Gogmagog and Corineus, from their invention by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the mid-12th century to the present, focusing especially on their material presence in the pageantry, legends, and identity of the City of London. This project is supported by a British Academy mid-career fellowship.

Research interests

  • Medieval Art, with a focus on northern Europe, c. 1100-1500
  • The interplay between myth and material culture
  • Illuminated manuscripts
  • Pictorial narrative and word-image relations
  • The role of the visual arts in public ritual and private devotion



  • Giants in the City: Mythic History as Material Culture in London from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century. British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. 


  • Material Witness: The Interrogation of Physical Objects for Humanities ResearchersAHRC Collaborative Skills Development scheme.  February 2013-July 2015. £53k. 


  • Contributor to the AHRC-funded Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts: Texts, Owners and Readers’ project, based at Nottingham University (PI: Thorlac Turville-Petre, University of Nottingham, and Ralph Hanna, Professor of Palaeography, Oxford).  Initially funded by the AHRClarge grants’ scheme in 2008, and recently awarded further funding. 


  • Contributor to DocExplore2, a collaboration between the School of Engineering and Digital Arts and the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent, and computer scientists and archivists at Rouen and Le Havre, to develop digital tools for the analysis and presentation of historical manuscripts ( The University of Kent component of the INTERREG IV grant is 207,457 over three years (2010-2013).  


  • Colyer Fergusson Fund from the University of Kent research grant for travel, £500  


  • Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Research Support Grant, £1000  


  • Raised funds to support the Under the Influence’ conference from the British Academy, Christies, the Courtauld Institute Research Committee, and Sam Fogg  


  • Overseas Research Student Grant

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, 2013-present 
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, 2012-present 
  • Member, The Bibliographical Society, 2012-present 
  • Member, British Archaeological Association, 2007- present
  • Honorary Research Fellow, University College London, Department of History, 2005-7 
  • Palaeography and Diplomatic Teachers’ Group, Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies University of London, 2002-6
  • Steering Committee, Research Centre for Illuminated Manuscripts (RCIMS), Courtauld Institute of Art, 2000-8. The RCIMS is a co-operative of academics and curators based at the Courtauld Institute, the University of Kent, the British Library, and the Victoria and Albert Museum with strong links to centres in Leuven and Lille.  
  • Vision Committee, Courtauld Institute of Art, 2001. External member of the committee that prepared a document outlining the Courtauld Institutes strategy for development as it sought independent college status.

Professional Development

  • Leadership for Areas of Significant Responsibility (LASR), a leadership development programme run by the University of Kent, 2013/14
  • PGCHE (Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education), University of Kent, 2008



  • Contributor to Are you having a laugh? Comedy and Christianity, BBC1, first broadcast 21 March 2013
  • Contributor to The Beauty of Books: Medieval Masterpieces, BBC4, first broadcast 14 February 2011 
  • Presenter of In Search of Medieval Britain: 6 x 30 minute episodes, part of BBC4s 2008 Medieval Season. Series first broadcast in spring 2008, and re-transmitted in autumn 2010
  • Scripted and presented an Open University DVD on Renaissance manuscript illumination for their module AA315: Renaissance Art Reconsidered, produced by Illuminations Media, 2006 
  • Interviewed for Channel 4 news item on the Chaworth Roll exhibition and publication, February 2005
  • Consultant for the Terry Jones Medieval Tales’ series (Oxford Film and TV), BBC2, 2003


  • Interviewee for news story in the Daily Telegraph ‘Medieval scroll with unforgiving views of kings comes up for sale, 14 February 2005 
  • Interviewee for feature in the GuardianCrocuses and Raisin Wine: The Key to Good Health, about the exhibition and publication of the Lichtenstein Tacuinum Sanitatis, 21 June 2005


  • BA Art History Year 1: The Middle Ages
  • BA Art History Year 2: Lessons in Interpretation

Education/Academic qualification

'Didactic Distractions Framing the Law: The Smithfield Decretals (London, BL Royal MS 10.E.iv)', The Courtauld Institute of Art


Award Date: Aug 23 2016

'Bound to be Together: The Two Manuscripts of British Library MS Arundel 83', The Courtauld Institute of Art


University of Victoria

… → 1995

External positions

Paul Mellon Centre


St Gabriel's College, Borough of Lambeth


British Archaeological Association


University of York


British Archaeological Association


Christie's Education

2006 → …

University of Kent


British Library



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