Dr Claire Jones

Photograph of Dr Claire Jones

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

Contact details

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

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 


For the MA Art History and Curating I convene and teach on the following modules:

  • Curatorial Practices
  • Placements: Art History in the Field
  • Theorising and Historicizing Exhibitions

I also supervise BA and MA dissertations.

Further teaching includes:

  • Sculptural Experiments in Britain, 1837-1901 (Special Subject module)
  • Inside the Gallery

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome proposals for doctoral research on the following:
nineteenth-century French and British sculpture
the decorative arts
the histories of galleries, museums and exhibitions

Find out more - our PhD History of Art  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research is focused on nineteenth-century French and British sculpture. I am interested more broadly in intersections between the arts, notably between sculpture and the decorative arts; 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.

Current projects include a cross-disciplinary collaboration on sculpture and the decorative with Dr Imogen Hart (UC Berkeley). The project will culminate in an edited collection, Sculpture and the Decorative in Britain and Europe, Seventeenth Century to Contemporary (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020). Through distinct case studies, from a 17th century altarpiece to contemporary ceramics, the essays chart the contexts and agendas that these shifting relationships between sculpture and the decorative expose and serve to support. In doing so, they demand a reassessment of the ways in which the two fields have been defined and separated, and offer a model for a more integrated form of art history writing.

The project develops from my monograph Sculptors and Design Reform in France, 1848 to 1895: Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (Ashgate, 2014), which argued for the inclusion of the decorative in the study of sculpture. This drew on my PhD research, examining the decorative work of sculptors including Carrier-Belleuse, Rodin, Desbois and Carabin, to offer a more accurate and comprehensive account of the practice and profession of sculpture in nineteenth-century France.

I am currently completing a new monograph, Experiments in Nineteenth-Century British Sculpture: Collaboration, Innovation, Failure (Manchester University Press, 2021). This is the first book-length study since Benedict Read’s seminal Victorian Sculpture (1982) to examine sculpture in Britain across the nineteenth century. I identify and examine four key innovations in this critical period: collaboration, church sculpture, sentimentality and the portrait statue. Finally, the study also offers a re-reading of the New Sculpture in relation to these earlier experiments - as an elitist return to the Antique - and makes a call for a more inclusive history of sculpture that pays attention to the sculpture that preceded and surrounded it.

I am also developing new projects on Childhood, Adolescence and Sculpture, and on Anglo-French Artistic Exchange.

I welcome proposals for PhD research on nineteenth-century French and British sculpture, the decorative arts, craft, hierarchies of art, and the history of galleries, museums and exhibitions.


Other activities

  • Director of Postgraduate Studies
  • Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
  • Convenor of MA Art History and Curating
  • Convenor MA History of Art
  • Employability,  Internships and Placements 


Recent publications


Jones, C (ed.), Hart, I (ed.), Thøfner, M, Hatt, M, Faulkner, K, Ferrari, A, Lübbren, N, O’Gorman, B, Polledri, M, Sterckx, M, Wainwright, L, Jones, C, Hart, I & Gray, L 2020, Sculpture and the Decorative in Britain and Europe: Seventeenth Century to Contemporary. Material Culture of Art and Design, First edn, Bloomsbury Academic, London and New York .

Jones, C 2014, Sculptors and design reform in France, 1848 to 1895: sculpture and the decorative arts . 1st edn, Routledge. <https://www.routledge.com/Sculptors-and-Design-Reform-in-France-1848-to-1895-Sculpture-and-the-Decorative/Jones/p/book/9781472415233>


Jones, C 2018, 'Realism and the Multiple: Pietro Magni’s Reading Girl (c.1861)', Midland Art Papers, vol. 1. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/historyofart/research/projects/map/includes/issue1/3-Object-in-Focus-Pietro-Magni-Reading-Girl-1861.aspx>

Jones, C 2016, 'Nathaniel Hitch and the making of church sculpture', 19: interdisciplinary studies in the long nineteenth century, vol. 2016, no. 22, 1697. https://doi.org/10.16995/ntn.733

Jones, C 2014, 'A creative engagement with historic and modern sculpture: Waldo Story's Fallen Angel', Sculpture Journal, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 145-158. https://doi.org/10.3828/sj.2014.15

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Jones, C 2018, “A Perverted Taste”: Italian depictions of Cloth and Puberty in mid-19th-century century Marble. in A Kettle & L Millar (eds), The Erotic Cloth: Seduction and Fetishism in Textiles. Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 36-47.


Jones, C & Hart, I 2020, Sculpture and the decorative: towards a more integrated mode of art history writing. in C Jones & I Hart (eds), Sculpture and the Decorative in Britain and Europe: Seventeenth Century to Contemporary . First edn, Material Culture of Art and Design, Bloomsbury Academic, London and New York , pp. 1-17.

Jones, C 2018, 'A “Vigorous” Year for Sculpture'. in M Hallett, SV Turner & J Feather (eds), The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018. Paul Mellon Center. <https://chronicle250.com/1882>

Jones, C 2014, Eiffel Tower, France (Gustave Eiffel, 1889). in G Lees-Maffei (ed.), Iconic Designs: 50 stories about 50 things. 1st edn, 1.1, Bloomsbury Visual Arts, London, pp. 26.

Jones, C 2014, Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837-1901. in Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837-1901. Yale University Press, New Haven.

Book/Film/Article review

Jones, C 2021, 'Review of Pauline Rose, Working against the Grain: Women Sculptors in Britain c.1885–1950, Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2020. 336 pp.; 20 color ills.; 101 b/w ills. Cloth $59.95 (9781789621563)', CAA Reviews (College Art Association Reviews), vol. 2021. https://doi.org/10.3202/caa.reviews.2021.18


Jones, C 2020, 'Introduction. Sculpture and Ceramics: points of affinity and difference', The French Porcelain Society Journal , vol. VIII, pp. xv-xxii. <https://www.thefrenchporcelainsociety.com/product/volume-viii-2020-ceramiques-sculpture/>

View all publications in research portal