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Jessica Rosenthal Mcgrath

Coming Soon

Collaborative Doctoral Award Student


Project Description

I am a Collaborative Doctoral Award student with the National Portrait Gallery and Swansea University. I am based at the Gallery, where I conduct research for my AHRC-funded project on the visual commemorative cultures of late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth century England and Wales. My thesis is entitled Redeeming Death: Mortality, Portraiture and the Quest for Salvation in Tudor England and Wales.


I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2012 with a BA (Hons.) degree in Theology and French, having also spent an Erasmus year at La Sorbonne (Paris IV) studying Medieval European History. I then spent two years at the V&A as Office Manager and PA in the department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass before commencing my Master’s degree in Medieval History at Oxford University, Balliol College, where I was the 2014-15 Balliol-Bodley Scholar. In September 2015, I returned to work at the V&A as Assistant Curator of the Gilbert Collection and later as an Assistant Curator of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion. I began my doctoral studies at the National Portrait Gallery and Swansea University in October 2016.

Research interests

My doctoral research explores post-Reformation responses to mortality, salvation, and transience in England and Wales. I am particularly interested in commemorative paintings commissioned for display in churches during the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries, and the intersection between a continued visual commemorative culture and Reformed theology and teaching regarding uses of imagery and the afterlife.

During my Undergraduate and Master’s degrees, I pursued my interest in Anglo-French relations during the later Middle Ages, particularly following the loss of Normandy in 1204.