Dr Jessica Berenbeim, Jesus




Biographical Information

University Lecturer in Literature and Visual Culture.

Fellow and Curator, Jesus College. 

BA, PhD Harvard; Junior Research Fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford; Frances Yates Long-Term Research Fellowship in Cultural and Intellectual History at the Warburg Institute. I’ve also held fellowships at or collaborated with a number of cultural institutions, including the British Library, the British Museum, and the National Archives.

Research Interests

The central theme of my research is the role of visual culture in documentation, historical knowledge, and political power. I have particular interests in the aesthetics and materiality of writing; museum studies, archives, and archival theory; philosophy of history; inscriptions; medieval art and architecture; classical reception studies; history of the book; and medieval cultural history.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

Interdisciplinary medieval studies; material texts; the intersections of literary and visual culture. 

I also encourage enquiries from research students interested working with museums, libraries, archives, and other external institutions.


Selected Publications



—editor, with J. Cherry and L. de Beer, Seals and Status: The Power of Objects (British Museum, 2018).

—editor, with T.A. Heslop, Invention and Imagination, special issue, British Art Studies, 6 (2017).

Art of Documentation: Documents and Visual Culture in Medieval England (PIMS/Toronto, 2015).

—translator, A. de Schryver, The Prayer Book of Charles the Bold: A Study of a Flemish Masterpiece from the Burgundian Court (Getty Museum, 2008).



—‘Fictions of the Archive’, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, 75–76 (2021).

—‘The Past of the Past: Historical Distance and the Medieval Image’, New Medieval Literatures, 21 (2021).

—‘Hannibal’s Journey: Ancient History, Material Philology, Medieval Illumination’, in Beyond Words, ed. J. Hamburger et al. (PIMS/Toronto, 2021).

—‘Recapitulation: A Medieval Table of Contents’, in Studies in Gothic Art, Architecture, and Ideas, ed. J. Luxford (Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2021).

—‘Domesday in Disguise’, in Illuminating the Middle Ages, ed. A. Bovey et al. (Brill, 2020).

—‘Medieval Treaties and the Diplomatic Aesthetic’, The Medieval Globe, 4 (2018).

—with L. de Beer, ‘Seals and Status’, in Seals and Status: The Power of Objects, ed. J. Cherry et al. (British Museum, 2018)

—with T.A. Heslop, ‘Invention and Imagination’, British Art Studies, 6 (2017)

—‘The Tomb of Virgil’, in The Virgil Encyclopedia, ed. R. Thomas and J. Ziolkowski (Blackwell, 2013).

—‘Personal and Institutional Patronage in the Sherborne Missal’, in Patrons and Professionals in the Middle Ages, ed. P. Binski and E.A. New, Harlaxton Medieval Studies, 22 (2012).

—‘Script after Print: Juan de Yciar and the Art of Writing’, Word & Image, 26 (2010).

—‘Milanese Chant in the Monastery?’ (with M. Röder), in Ambrosiana at Harvard: New Sources of Milanese Chant, ed. T.F. Kelly and M. Mugmon (HCL/Harvard, 2010).

—‘An English Manuscript of the Somme le roi’, in Cambridge Illuminations, ed. S. Panayotova (Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2007).



Illuminated Manuscripts in Cambridge: A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges, selected entries for volumes on France, Britain, Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula (Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2009–).

British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, selected entries on manuscripts in the Harley Collection (Digital open-access catalogue, 2005–).