Matthew Reeve

Matthew Reeve

Professor and Queen's National Scholar

Department of Art History and Art Conservation

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Research Interests

My current research interests include medieval art, architecture and aesthetics, episodes of medievalism in Western art, British art, relationships between architecture, the decorative arts and the history of sexuality, and the historiography and theory of art history.


My career has long straddled North America and Europe. Beginning at the University of Toronto, I moved to do my graduate work at Cambridge University. Before coming to Queen's as Associate Professor and Queen's National Scholar, I held a permanent post at the University of London. Working on art in all media, I have published widely on medieval art, including a monograph Thirteenth-Century Wall Painting of Salisbury Cathedral: Art, Liturgy and Reform (Boydell 2008), Reading Gothic Architecture (Brepols 2008) and Tributes to Pierre du Prey: Architecture and the Classical Tradition (Harvey Miller 2014). 

A second area of interest has been the afterlife of medieval forms and ideas in the art and literature of modernity (i.e. medievalism). My recent book, Gothic Architecture and Sexuality in the Circle of Horace Walpole, was published by Penn State in 2020 and won the Historians of British Art Book Prize in 2021. Locating the shared tastes for the Gothic within the homoerotic culture of Walpole's circle, this project explored relationships between the Gothic and the "modern styles" of the eighteenth century and contemporary changes in human sexuality and subjectivity. A second book (with Michael Windover), Casa Loma: Medievalism, Modernity and Millionaires in Toronto's Gilded Age, was funded by a four-year Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada was published in 2023 with McGill-Queen's University Press.

I am currently working on a number of different projects. Funded by a CFI grant (with Norman Vorano), I am the co-founder of MobArch, Queen’s University’s Mobile Laboratory for the Study of the Built Environment which employs LIDAR scanning and other technologies to record and conserve the built environment. Second, I am working on a monograph on the extraordinary sculpture of Wells Cathedral and its place in European art. Originating in my research on Walpole’s circle, a third project is The Casa Manetti, Florence: Homoerotic Networks, the Grand Tour, and the Origins of Queer Aesthetics in Britain, which explores the central role of travel in shaping a queer aesthetics in eighteenth century Britain. Finally, a long-range project, Gothic art, Colonization and Spirituality in Wales c. 1170-1540, considers the remarkable flourishing of art and architecture in medieval Wales vis-à-vis the process of colonization before and after the loss of independence in 1284 (supported by a five-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada).


Select Recent and Forthcoming Work

An Epithalamium in Stone: The West Facade of Wells Cathedral. Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 175, pp. 149-182 (2022).

Wall Painting and Sacred Space in Medieval Churches, in The Cambridge Guide to the Architecture of Christianity, Volume I, ed. Stephen Murray, Cambridge 2022, 549-60.

The Public Setting: furniture of the Great Church and the aristocratic household, in A Cultural History of Furniture: the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. Erin J. Campbell, London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming.

Living in the New, New Middle Ages, The Rambling (2018)

The Hereford Screen: A Prehistory, British Art Studies 5 (2017)

Michael Camille's Queer Middle Ages, The Routledge Companion to Medieval Iconography, ed Colum Hourihane, Abingdon and London 2017, 154-72.

A child of Strawberry: Thomas Barrett and Lee Priory, Kent (with Peter Lindfield-Ott), Burlington Magazine, CLVII (2015), 836-42.

A Gothic Vatican of Greece and Rome': Horace Walpole, Strawberry Hill, and the Narratives of Gothic, Tributes to Pierre du Prey: Architecture and the Classical Tradition, from Pliny to Posterity, ed. Matthew M Reeve,  New York and London: Harvey Miller 2014, 185-210.

Gothic, Studies in Iconography, (a special issue entitled Medieval Art History Today – Critical Terms, ed by Nina Rowe and Colum Hourihane) 33 (2012), 233-46.

Gothic Architecture and the Civilizing Process: The Great Hall in Thirteenth Century England, New Directions in Medieval Architectural History, eds. Abby McGehee, Rob Bork, and William Clark, Aldershot and New York: Ashgate, 2011, 93-112.

The Capital Sculpture of Wells Cathedral: Patrons, Masons, and the Margins of English Gothic Architecture, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 163 (2010), 72-109.