Dr Claire Jones

Photograph of Dr Claire Jones

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Lecturer in History of Art

Contact details

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My specialisms are French and British sculpture and the decorative arts 1800-1900, with a particular interest in intersections between sculpture and the decorative arts, between art and industry, and in curating the decorative.


  • PhD, University of York
  • MA, Royal College of Art
  • BA (Hons), University of Essex 


Prior to joining the department in 2015, I held two AHRC-funded postdoctoral positions, on the Displaying Victorian Sculpture research project jointly led by the universities of York and Warwick (which in part culminated in the 2014 Sculpture Victorious exhibitions at the Yale Center for British Art and Tate Britain), and on the Dance and Memory research project at the University of Chichester.

I gained my PhD from the University of York in 2010, having previously been Curator of Furniture at the Bowes Museum from 2001 to 2007.


My teaching focuses on areas related to art history and curating, from the history of exhibitions and art galleries to the practicalities of curating an exhibition. I convene the new MA in Art History and Curating, and teach on three of its modules: Curatorial Practices, Placements, and Theorising and Historicizing Exhibitions. I also convene the BA second year module, Inside the Gallery.

Postgraduate supervision

Supervision of MA, MRes and PhD theses. I welcome proposals for research on nineteenth-century French and British sculpture, the decorative arts, and the history of galleries, museums and exhibitions.


My research is focused on nineteenth-century French and British sculpture and the decorative arts. My book, Sculptors and Design Reform in France, 1848 to 1895: Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (Ashgate, 2014), argues for the inclusion of the decorative in the study of sculpture. I am interested more broadly in intersections between the arts, notably between sculpture and other disciplines; and engage with questions including discourses of materials and of making; the hierarchy of the arts; reproduction and its histories; histories of display; and artistic engagements with histories of art.

I am currently completing a new monograph on sculpture in nineteenth-century Britain, with the working title A Contested Medium: Sculptural Innovation in Britain 1837-1901. This focuses on four key areas of sculptural activity and debate: the first sculptor societies and their promotion of British sculpture; the origins and development of the portrait statue; the influence of Christianity on sculpture; and a reassessment of the New Sculpture.

Current projects include a cross-disciplinary collaboration on Sculpture and the Decorative with Dr Imogen Hart (UC Berkeley). Proposals are invited for our forthcoming session at AAH 2016. The project will culminate in an edited collection.

I am also interested in the history of the decorative arts in museums and art galleries, and the ways in which these objects have been integrated within art historical discourse.

Other activities

  • Internships and Placements Officer in the department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
  • Year 2 Personal Tutor in the department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies



  • Sculptors and Design Reform in France, 1848 to 1895: Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (Ashgate, 2014).

Academic journal articles

  • ‘A Creative Engagement with Historic and Modern Sculpture: Waldo Story's Fallen Angel’, Sculpture Journal, 23:2 (2014), pp. 145-158.

Exhibition catalogues

  • G.G. Scott, Model, Tomb of Philippa of Hainault (1851)’, ‘Anon., Cast of tomb of Eleanor of Aquitaine (1852-4)’, ‘A.W.N. Pugin and Hardman and Co., Brass Rubbing (1850)’, H.N. Humphreys, Parables of Our Lord (1847) and A Record of the Black Prince (1849)’, ‘J.D. Sedding, Pastoral staff (1883)’ and E. Burne-Jones, Perseus and the Graiae (1877-88)’, in Martina Droth, Jason Edwards and Michael Hatt (eds), Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837-1901 (Yale University Press, 2014), cat. 45-46, 48-51, 144; pp. 157-62, 167-72, 396-99.
  • ‘La Formation d'un Sculpteur’, in François Blanchetière and William Saade (eds), Rodin, les Arts décoratifs (Musée Rodin, 2009), pp. 10-15.
  • Howard Coutts and Claire Jones (eds), Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art of the French Poster (The Bowes Museum, 2004).

Essays and articles

  • ‘Eiffel Tower, France (Gustave Eiffel, 1889)’, in Grace Lees-Maffei (ed.), Iconic Designs: 50 stories about 50 things (Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2014), pp. 26-29.
  • ‘Sculpture c.1840-1901’, in Dee Dyas (ed.), English Cathedrals and Monasteries through the Centuries:History, Community, Art, Architecture, Worship, Spirituality, Music, DVD-ROM (York: The Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, 2013).
  • 'A Neo-Classical Discovery at the Bowes Museum', Apollo (May 2005), pp. 64-67.

Book reviews

  • John C. Welchman (ed.), Sculpture and the Vitrine (Ashgate, 2013), Journal of the History of Collections (July 2014), vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 325-326.
  • David J. Getsy, Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture (Yale University Press, 2010), Sculpture Journal, vol. 20.1 (2011), pp. 280-282.