Dr Martin Crampin

UWTSD Home  -  Research  -  Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS)  -  Dr Martin Crampin

Dr Martin Crampin BA, MA, PhD

Research Fellow

Tel: 01970 631007
E-mail: mcrampin@wales.ac.uk

Martin Crampin joined the Centre’s staff in 1999 to work with Peter Lord on the series of CD-ROMs for the ‘Visual Culture of Wales’ project. Building on the text of the three printed volumes, he was closely involved with recording, editing and illustrating interviews, as well as providing additional photography and design.

Martin was based at the Centre while working on a subsequent AHRC research project, ‘Imaging the Bible in Wales’. The project was based at the University of Wales, Lampeter, but was run in collaboration with the Centre and the National Library of Wales. As artist, researcher and designer, Martin managed the production of the online database and DVD-ROM, which was written with John Morgan-Guy. Together with designing the website and DVD-ROM, and recording and editing further interviews, he photographed hundreds of artworks for the project in churches and collections all around Wales.

Following the conclusion of this AHRC project, Martin worked as a cartographer and illustrator for the ‘Ancient Britain and the Atlantic Zone’ project. This work drew in part on one of his earlier research interests in prehistoric and medieval archaeology, developed during his MA in Celto-Roman Studies at the University of Wales College, Newport.

Developing the research undertaken during the ‘Imaging the Bible in Wales’ project, Martin conceived a new project focusing specifically on stained glass. During the ‘Stained Glass in Wales’ project (2009–11), he wrote hundreds of new window records for the database and added over 4,000 photographs to the resource. His online Stained Glass in Wales’ catalogue was launched in June 2011 and continues to grow. After this project Martin focused his interests in stained glass on a volume outlining the history of the medium in Wales, and Stained Glass from Welsh Churches was published in 2014.  

In November 2011 Martin became one of the first PhD students at the Centre, with the assistance of a University of Wales Scholarship. Bringing the experience of all of these previous research projects together with his work as a visual artist, his practice-based doctorate focused on medievalism in Welsh visual culture through the production of new artwork based on medieval patterns from the Cistercian abbey at Strata Florida and the churches at Llananno and Gresford.

In November 2014 he joined the ‘Cult of Saints in Wales’ project, co-ordinating a series of events around Wales to share the team’s research, accompanied by a small touring exhibition. This role was continued during the ‘Vitae Sanctorum Cambriae’ project (2017–19), and he also co-curated and designed materials for the project exhibition at the National Library in 2017. Funded by the AHRC, the texts published by these projects will be augmented by the ‘Visualizing the Saints of Wales’ follow-on project in 2021, which will publish supplementary information on the imagery of saints in the medieval and modern periods alongside geographical distributions of their cults in Wales.

In 2020 he published a study of the imagery of St David, and a book on the depiction of Welsh saints in places of worship is in preparation.

Martin has been involved in the Interreg ‘Ports, Past and Present’ project since its inception in 2019, and now works on the project part-time. He is part of the team at CAWCS supporting ten creative practitioners who are developing creative responses to the five functioning port towns in Ireland and Wales, drawing on his own experience working as a visual artist.

  • Ecclesiastical art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly stained glass
  • Decorative arts of the medieval period in Britain
  • Welsh medieval narrative tradition and the Lives of the saints, as well as related imagery
  • Nineteenth-century medievalism, the visual culture of antiquarianism and the imaging the medieval past, and the revival of Celtic-Christian styles of ornament in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • The role of creative arts within heritage interpretation.

Martin works independently as a photographer and designer in a variety of media, and has deployed these skills in the series of research projects that he has been involved in at the Centre. He has designed publicity materials, books, exhibition catalogues and websites, working with most of the projects that have been active at the Centre over the last twenty years.

 As a practising artist, he has exhibited across Wales and internationally. His art practice is primarily concerned with the recording and reinvention of medieval decorative arts, and this was explored in his practice-based PhD (2011–15).

Having worked with Peter Lord on the ‘Visual Culture of Wales’ project, Martin has been one of the small number of specialists familiar with the long history of visual art in Wales. Since then this expertise has focused mainly on the medieval period and on art in churches, as well as the field of medievalism in visual culture.

He has been recognized as the leading expert on stained glass in Wales and, following the publication of Stained Glass from Welsh Churches in 2014, has been developing an international reputation as one of the few specialists in nineteenth- and twentieth-century stained glass.

Martin has been preoccupied with the digital humanities since the 1990s, as an essential member of small teams creating innovative multimedia material on CD-ROM and DVD-ROM, and then in the management, production and creation of several key reference websites including the ‘Imaging the Bible in Wales’ database, the ‘Stained Glass in Wales’ catalogue and ‘Monastic Wales’.

Advice on historical significance of stained glass for conservational and heritage purposes.

Through the ‘Ports, Past and Present’ project, I am advising on print and website design for charitable bodies concerned with heritage.

‘Art or articles of trade: appreciating variety in nineteenth-century ecclesiastical stained glass’, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 3 (2020)

Depicting St David (Tal-y-bont: Y Lolfa, 2020)

‘The Gothic Revival character of ecclesiastical stained glass in Britain’, Folia Historiae Artium, new series, 17 (2019), 25–42

Teiliau Tyddewi / The Tiles of St Davids (Aberystwyth: Sulien Books, 2019)

‘A change in direction: Modernism in the stained glass of the Diocese of Llandaff in the 1950s and 1960s’, The Journal of Stained Glass, 42 (2018), 54–68

Stained Glass at the Church of St Peter, Carmarthen (Aberystwyth: Sulien Books, 2018)

with John Hammond, Stained Glass at the Church of St Peter, Lampeter (Aberystwyth: Sulien Books, 2017)

‘Neave glass at Llanwenllwyfo: dating and attribution’, in J. O. Hughes, Catherine Hughes and Avril Lloyd, Trysorau Cudd: Gwydr Lliw yn Santes Gwenllwyfo, Dulas, Môn / Hidden Gems: Stained Glass at the Church of St Gwenllwyfo, Anglesey (Aberystwyth: Sulien Books, 2016), pp. 14–27

Stained Glass at Hafod (Aberystwyth: Sulien Books, 2016)

The Medieval Tiles of Strata Florida (Aberystwyth: Sulien Books, 2014)

Stained Glass at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Tenby (Aberystwyth: Sulien Books, 2014)

The Medieval Grotesques of Gresford (Aberystwyth: Sulien Books, 2014)

Stained Glass from Welsh Churches (Tal-y-bont: Y Lolfa, 2014)

The Stained Glass of St Michael’s Church, Llanfihangel Genau’r Glyn (Llandre: Wendall Publications in association with Llandre Parochial Church Council, 2013)

‘Biblical art from Wales: the mediaeval Influence’, in Martin O’Kane and John Morgan-Guy (eds.), Biblical Art from Wales (Sheffield: Phoenix Press, 2010)

with John Morgan-Guy, Imaging the Bible in Wales, DVD-ROM (Sheffield: Phoenix Press, 2010)

with John Morgan-Guy, Imaging the Bible in Wales, online database (launched 2008), http://imagingthebible.llgc.org.uk/

‘Interpreting Welsh medieval narratives: exploring parallel traditions and historical process through contemporary art’, Studi Celtici, III (2004), 295–324

Contributions to the ‘Visual Culture of Wales’ series of CD-ROMs by Peter Lord (Cardiff: UWP, 2000, 2002, 2004)

Advisor to the Llandaff Diocesan Advisory Committee

Member of the Stained Glass Committee of the Church Buildings Council (Church of England)

Advisor to the National Churches Trust ‘Experiencing Sacred Wales’ project

Martin has lectured extensively at international academic conferences since 2000, sometimes as a keynote speaker. He has also given numerous talks for a range of groups and societies on the work of the research projects that he has been involved with, as well as other aspects of his research interests. A list of these talks is available on Martin's website

As an artist, he has held several solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions from 1997 at venues around Wales, England, and the Continent, including public and private galleries, churches, cathedrals and hospitals. You can see a list of his exhibitions.

Visit Martin's website.