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Department of History of Art



John Munns specializes in the cultural and material history of Western Europe in the High Middle Ages, particularly the relationships between images, ideas, and devotional practices between the mid-eleventh and early-thirteenth centuries. Other research interests include Romanesque and early Gothic architecture; aspects of medieval theological thought including the doctrine of God, the sacraments, and image theory; and the patronage of twelfth-century English bishops. Recent publications include a monograph, Cross and Culture in Anglo-Norman England (Boydell Press, 2016), and an edited collection of essays about the Decorated style of English Gothic architecture, Decorated Revisited: English Architectural Style in Context, 1250-1400 (Brepols, 2017). Other recent research activity includes working as Principal Investigator on an interdisciplinary British Academy-funded project about the Anglo-Norman patron Henry of Blois, which has led to a number of recent publications, including Henry of Blois: New Interpretations (Boydell Press, 2021). Current projects include a book on the art of England in the century after the Norman invasion, and an ongoing study of high-medieval visions and visual imagination. A secondary area of interest is eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century antiquarianism.

Following degrees in both theology and the history of art, John completed his PhD in the department under the supervision of Professor Paul Binski. His doctoral study included two periods of funded research as a visiting student at Princeton University. He then held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre in London and taught in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Bristol before returning to Cambridge in 2011. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Historical Society, and the Higher Education Academy.

John is a Fellow and Tutor of Magdalene College and Director of Studies in the History of Art for Magdalene and Robinson colleges. Over recent years in the department, he has taught for both Part I and Part II of the undergraduate tripos, as well as for the MPhil. He also teaches in the Faculty of History. In 2014 he received a special mention in the lecturer category of the inaugural CUSU Teaching Excellence Awards.

Affiliated Lecturer
Fellow of Magdalene College
Director of Studies at Magdalene and Robinson Colleges
Dr John   Munns

Contact Details

01223 764507
Not available for consultancy