Personal profile


Cordelia studied Fine Art at Newcastle University (1985-1987) and History of Art at Nottingham University (1987-1989). She completed her Ph.D. on 'Female Patronage and Female Spirituality in Italian Art of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries' in 1994 (University of Warwick ).

Before coming to Manchester, Cordelia taught at Queen's University Belfast (1999-2003) and the University of Aberdeen (1995-1996). She has also taught for the Open University (1995) and for the American University of Rome (1998). She has held research awards from the Leverhulme Trust (1996-1998 and 2002-2003), the British School at Rome (1991, 1997-1998, 2011), the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation (1993), and St. John's College, Oxford (2003).

Cordelia is currently (September 2017 onwards) Deputy Editor of the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library ( She has also served on the committee of the Ecclesiastical History Society, the Editorial Committee of Manchester University Press from 2012-2015 and was Reviews Editor of the journal Art History from 2007-2011.

Research interests

Cordelia Warr works on Italian art of the middle ages and renaissance. Her interests include: clothing, its representation, and its problematic relationship with the spiritual realm; and the visual culture of stigmata.

Cordelia has published on patronage issues, particularly women as patrons. She has also published widely on questions surrounding the symbolic meaning of dress and the representation of religious dress. In 2010, she published Dressing for Heaven: Physical and Spiritual Dress in Italian Art 1215-1545 , which investigates clothes as liminal objects, drawing on areas such as material culture, Renaissance models of consumption and devotion, and gender studies. Her current project is on  The Visual Culture of Stigmata in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy. This forms part of a larger interest in wounds. Cordelia co-edited, with Dr Anne Kirkham, Wounds in the Middle Ages (Ashgate, 2014); and co-curated an exhibition with Dr Sian Bonnell (Manchester Metropolitan University) on 'Imagining Medicine' (The John Rylands Library, 14 October - 22 December 2016). She is currently working on a project with Professor Anne Dunlop (University of Melbourne) on 'Foreign Bodies' ( part of an initiative which will highlight research on early modern collections in Manchester and Melbourne.

Conference papers include: 'Noses and skin flaps: Gaspare Tagliacozzi’s De Curtorum Chirurgia (1597)’ (Medical Artists Association, Manchester 2016; ‘Proving Stigmata: Antonio Daza, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Juana de la Cruz’ (Ecclesiastical History Society, Sheffield 2014); ‘Pierfrancesco Fiorentino’s Altarpiece (1494) of the Virgin and Child in San Gimignano and Dominican definitions of stigmata’ (Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris, Paris 2012), and 'Touching the habit: Sight and touch in the presentation of the habit of Saint Francis' (The Senses and the Experience of God in Art in the Franciscan Tradition, Saint Bonaventure University, 2017).




Further information

Supervision areas:

I am interested in supervising work on late medieval and renaissance Italian art, particularly topics relating to wounds and surgery, sanctity, patronage and dress and would welcome enquiries from anyone wishing to do research in this area.

Completed PhD students:

  • Anne Kirkham (2004-7) (AHRC funded)  'Art History and Medieval Art Writing.'
  • Anna Piperato (2004-9) (ORS, URS, NAFUM funded) (co-supervised with Professor Adrian Armstrong) 'Saint Catherine of Siena: Hagiography, Iconography, Ideology.'
  • Julia Snape (2006-2013) (AHRC funded) (co-supervised with Dr Helen Rees-Leahy) 'The Role of Medieval and Renaissance Art in Nineteenth-Century Institutional Didacticism.'
  • Pamela Walker (2007-2013) (AHRC funded), 'Fashioning Death: The Choice and Representation of Female Clothing on English Funeral Monuments, 1250-1450'

Supervision information

Saint Catherine of Siena in three Italian life cycles : 1567-1600

Anna Piperato 

Supervisors: Adrian Armstrong, Cordelia Warr

University of Manchester. School of Arts, Histories and Cultures.



Medieval art writing and the study of art history.

Deborah Anne Kirkham 

Supervisor: Cordelia Warr

University of Manchester. School of Arts, Histories and Cultures.


External positions

External Examiner, History of Art (MLitt Art History: The Renaissance in Northern Europe; MLitt Art History: Dress and Textile Histories), University of Glasgow

1 Sept 201631 Aug 2019

External Examiner, History of Art (UG MA Art History; MLitt Art and Business), University of Aberdeen

1 Sept 201530 Sept 2018

External Examiner, History of Art (BA Art History), The University of Reading

1 Sept 201131 Aug 2015

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Futures
  • Digital Futures
  • Creative Manchester


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