Department of History of Art
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BA Hons, MA, PhD (Newcastle)
Jane Hawkes is a Reader in the History of Art. After receiving her first degree in English Literature (BA Hons, First Class), with the Barbara Strang Memorial Prize for Medieval Studies, Jane went on to pursue research for a Ph.D., funded by a British Academy Scholarship, on the Iconography of Anglo-Saxon sculpture of the pre-Viking period in the North of England, an inter-disciplinary study involving the art, archaeology, history (ecclesiastical and secular), biblical exegesis and literature of the Anglo-Saxons. This was followed by a 2-year post-doctoral Research Fellowship, awarded by the University of Newcastle, to study the iconography of Anglo-Saxon sculpture in the light of both the art which has survived from the pre-Norman period elsewhere in Britain and Ireland, and other artistic traditions from the late antique and early medieval worlds.
Since 1985 Jane has taught widely in the areas of Anglo-Saxon studies (art, archaeology, language and literature), English Medieval Literature and the art and architecture of late antiquity and of medieval Europe in the Universities of Newcastle and Edinburgh, and the National University of Ireland at University College Cork.
She currently teaches undergraduate and postgraduate modules on late antique and Insular art in the Department of History of Art and the Centre for Medieval Studies. Her areas of interest lie in the art and architecture of late antiquity and early medieval Europe, with special reference to the roles of sculpture as public art in the Insular world, the cultural cross-currents between Ireland, Britain and Europe, and relationships between text and image. She is currently working on the historiography of Insular sculpture, and its context in 19th and 20th century Medievalism.
Jane's interest in the cultural cross-currents of the Insular world have involved her in a number of international research projects devoted to the art of that region and its links with Europe and Byzantium in the early medieval period. These include:
In addition to these projects, Jane's research has resulted in a number of publications on the art and sculpture of Anglo-Saxon England and early Christian Ireland, primarily from the point of view of its iconographic significances – both in terms of the motifs and images displayed on the artifacts and monuments and, in the case of the sculpture, in terms of the monuments themselves as constructs within the physical and imagined landscapes of the Insular world.
She has written an introductory book on the material culture of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria, entitled The Golden Age of Northumbria, and an iconographic case study of the Anglo-Saxon monuments at Sandbach in Cheshire (The Sandbach Crosses: Sign and Significance in Anglo-Saxon England), has edited essays from two conference proceedings, Northumbrian Golden Age (1996), and Making Histories (2013), and co-edited an exhibition on Constantine, York's Roman Emperor (2006). Her current work involves a book on the historiography of Anglo-Saxon sculpture, and a volume on the iconography of the pre-Viking sculpture of Anglo-Saxon England.
Other interests include the representation and recreation of early medieval monuments in the 19th and 20th centuries in the art and architecture of Ireland and England.
Jane would welcome enquiries from anyone interested in undertaking post-graduate research in these and related areas. York and its environs are particularly rich in Anglo-Saxon sites and material culture, the most visible of which are the sculpture and ecclesiastical architecture, while the Centre for Medieval Studies provides a base for scholars and researchers working in disciplines complementary to all aspects of the study of Anglo-Saxon art.
The Department of History of Art is also developing a growing reputation as a centre for research in Medieval Revivals, of which Jane is a part with students currently working in this area at doctoral level (see students).
Local library resources, in addition to the University and Minster libraries, include access to the British Library Documents Supply Centre at Boston Spa, and a collection of local antiquarian journals in the library of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne.