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Sonja Drimmer

Assistant Professor | Medieval Art

(413) 545-3603

South College W315

Ph.D., Columbia, 2011

Sonja Drimmer is Assistant Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture. She specializes in the study of manuscript illumination of the British Isles and northern Europe, and her research falls largely into two areas: the material production and illumination of English literature between 1350 and 1500; as well as the visual and material culture of politics at the end of the Middle Ages.

Professor Drimmer's current book project, The Art of Allusion: Illuminators and the Making of Middle English Literature, 1403-1476, is the first major art historical study dedicated to the emergence of the Middle English literary canon as an illustrated corpus. 

Her research has received support and awards from the British Academy, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Bibliographical Society of America, the Huntington Library, the Warburg Institute, CASVA at the National Gallery of Art, the Whiting Foundation, the Medieval Academy of America, the Association for Manuscripts and Archives in Research Collections, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the American Trust for the British Library.

Research Areas

Medieval Art


For copies of Professor Drimmer’s publications and a recent CV, please visit her page.

Selected Publications

  • “The Painters of Late Medieval London and Westminster,” Burlington Magazine (forthcoming).
  • “The Severed Head as Public Sculpture in Late Medieval England,” in The Art of War: Imagery, Ideology, Impact, ed. Laurel Bestock and Anne Hunnell Chen (Oxford: Oxbow Books for the Joukowsky Institute, forthcoming).
  • “The Hieroglyphs of Kingship: Itay's Egypt in Early Tudor England and the Manuscript as Monument,” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 59/60 (2014/15): 255-83.
  • “Failure before Print (the Case of Stephen Scrope),” Viator 46 (2015): 343-72.
  • "Questionable Contexts: A Pedigree Book and Queen Elizabeth's Teeth," in Scholars and Poets Talk About Queens, ed. Carole Levin and Christine Stewart-Nuñez (New York: Palgrave, 2015), 203-24.
  • "Beyond Private Matter: A Prayer Roll for Queen Margaret of Anjou," Gesta 53 (2014): 95-120.
    [Winner of the History Essay Prize from the Yorkist History Trust and the Richard III Society]
  • "Visualizing Intertextuality: Conflating Forms of Creativity in Late Medieval 'Author Portraits,'" in Citation, Intertextuality, and Memory, vol. 2, ed. Di Bacco and Plumley (University of Liverpool Press, 2013), 82-101.
  • "Picturing the King or Picturing the Saint: Two Miniature Programmes for John Lydgate's Lives of SS Edmund and Fremund," in Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe, 1350-1550: Packaging, Presentation, and Consumption, ed. Cayley and Powell (Liverpool University Press, 2013).
  • "A Medieval Psalter 'Perfected': Eighteenth-Century Conservationism and an Early (Female) Restorer of Rare Books and Manuscripts," British Library Journal (2013).


Courses Recently Taught

  • ART-HIST 305/605 Early Medieval Art
  • ART-HIST 307/607 Romanesque and Gothic Art
  • ART-HIST 392m The Medieval Art of Death
  • ART-HIST 705 The Lost Art of Medieval Britain: Absence and Recovery
  • ART-HIST 705 The Art of the Book: Late Medieval Manuscript Illumination 
  • ART-HIST 781 Graduate Methods of Art History