Johanna Pollick



Research title: The motif of the wound as a well in art, literature and devotional practice in late medieval England

Research Summary

My PhD concerns the literary and pictorial motif of the wounds of Christ as wells or springs in art, literature and devotional practice in later medieval England. The wound-as-well motif was ubiquitous in England in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, in religious jewellery and stained glass as well as in manuscripts, yet my doctoral project is the first sustained art historical examination of this iconography.


Focusing on six iconographically-related devotional manuscripts and printed texts from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, I will examine the origins, evolution and distribution of the wound-as-well image in England, and its relationship to medieval devotion to the Five Wounds and the heart of Christ more broadly. Particular attention will be given to the unusually disembodied and abstracted depiction of Christ’s wounds in this imagery, exploration of the complex text-image relationships at work in these manuscripts and printed texts, and analysis of the intervisual relationships between the wound-as-well motif and other categories of medieval imagery such as heraldry and badges.


2016-2019: AHRC DTP Studentship


  • HISTART1002, Art History and its Materials and Techniques
  • HISTART1003, Art History in Action: Classicism and Naturalism