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Dr Beth A WilliamsonB.A.(Oxon.), M.A., Ph.D.(Lond.)

Reader in History of Art

Beth Williamson

Dr Beth A WilliamsonB.A.(Oxon.), M.A., Ph.D.(Lond.)

Reader in History of Art

Member of

Research interests

  • Italian painting of the 14th century; forms and functions of religious imagery
  • Religious devotional practice, especially in relation to visual and aural culture
  • Relationships between liturgy, devotion and visual culture
  • Materiality and media; Sensory and bodily experience


Office 2.30, top floor, 9 Woodland Road, 0117 954 6047,

Career and Training

Beth Williamson studied at Merton College, Oxford (History), and then at the Courtauld Institute in London  (MA, History of Art; PhD, History of Art). Before joining the University of Bristol in 1998 she taught at a number of institutions, including the Courtauld Institute, University College, London, and the University of East Anglia.


Selected publications

Her most recent monograph, The Madonna of Humility: development, dissemination and reception, explores the iconography and development of the image of the Virgin seated on the ground, the assimilation and translation of the image between different cultural milieux, and its function and reception.

A recent article, 'Sensory Experience in Medieval Devotion: Sound and Vision, Invisibility and Silence', explored issues around interiority, and materiality and immateriality of images, visibility and invisibility, audible and inaudible music.


Research Supervision

Beth Williamson is interested in supervising students undertaking research in any of the areas listed above, and in later medieval art and architecture more generally. She currently supervises students working in a diverse range of areas, including fourteenth-century Sienese painting, the culture of English cathedrals after the Reformation, and music and cosmology in Romanesque architecture.



Dr Williamson teaches across the full range of BA, MA and postgraduate research programmes. She teaches specialist units on religious visual culture, often including materials and methodologies from musicology and sound studies. Special units include: 'Early Italian Art', 'Northern Renaissance Art', and 'Spectacle and Ceremony'. More general medieval teaching includes: 'Introduction to Medieval Art' and 'Art at the Courts of Europe'. She also contributes to 'Histories and Theories of Art', 'Research Issues in Art History', and 'Histories, Theories and Critical Interpretations of Art'. 

Dr Williamson also teaches on various widening participation and access courses, including Access to Bristol and the Bristol Foundation Year in Arts and Humanities.

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Postal address:
9 Woodland Road
United Kingdom