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Allison Morgan Sherman

Posted By RSA, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dr Allison Morgan Sherman, 37, died in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, on 26 April 2017, after a two-year struggle with breast cancer. She was surrounded by her loving family, including her mother, Joan Sherman, her caregiver for the entire two years – a word which conveys so little of Joan’s fierce and devoted love for her daughter.

Allie discovered a love of Italian Renaissance Art History at Queen’s University, and in her second year as an undergraduate student, in 2000, cemented her passion for Venice during the annual Queen’s Venice Summer School, then taught by Sharon Gregory and Sally Hickson. Her M.A at Queen’s (awarded 2004) was supervised by David McTavish, and her Ph.D. at the University of St Andrew’s in Scotland (awarded 2010) by Peter Humfrey.

Allie’s interests, while centred on Renaissance Venice, were broad. Given her short life, she was a prolific scholar, publishing, in the five years following her dissertation, seven articles and book chapters, a co-edited book in honour of Deborah Howard, and an article co-written with Dr Humfrey. She was the recipient of grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Burlington Magazine Foundation. Her Artibus et Historiae article “Murder and Martyrdom: Titian’s Gesuiti St Lawrence as a Family Peace Offering” received an honourable mention for the I Tatti Prize of 2013 for Best Essay by a Junior Scholar. Among other topics, she worked on: Venetian churches; the Counter-Reformation in Venice; Venetian monastic life; ducal, private, corporate and monastic art patronage, including (particularly) that of lay procurators for mendicant orders; and views and maps of Venice. Her dissertation on the Crociferi church, Santa Maria Assunta (now the Gesuiti), led her additionally to explore aspects of monastic music and the afterlife of works of art sold, dispersed and dismantled after ecclesiastical and Napoleonic suppression. Infamously, few documentary sources for the Venetian Crociferi survived in obvious archival fondi, and researching this church ultimately led Allie to develop an extraordinary “nose” for archival documents.

Allie was an extremely dedicated teacher. She taught courses at Carleton University in Ottawa, and at Queen’s University, where (as a sessional lecturer) she also served as Graduate Coordinator. From 2011–16, she taught the Queen’s Venice Summer School with Dr Krystina Stermole, thus coming full circle from her undergraduate experience. The tributes that have flooded in from her students praise her passion for art and for teaching, her kindness, and the undivided attention she gave during “tea and sympathy” office hours. During her illness, she came to the realization that academic life had become too stressful and unrewarding, and she planned a major change in her life and her career.

Most important of all, Allie had a great gift for friendship. Her extraordinarily open and affable nature, and her outrageous sense of humour, led people from many walks of life (including the scholars she worked beside at the Archivio di Stato in Venice) to adore her. She loved her family, close friends, teachers and mentors all her life – a love that was wholeheartedly and unreservedly returned.

Sharon Gregory, St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Canada
Sally Hickson, University of Guelph, Canada

Allison in Venice, 2013

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Chriscinda C. Henry says...
Posted Thursday, May 25, 2017
Thank you Sharon so much for this wonderful tribute to Allie's work from yet another Venetianist who derived joy from our time together.
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Christina M. Anderson says...
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2017
What a beautiful tribute! Thank you so much, Sharon and Sally. I miss Allie!
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