Martin Crampin
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Digital Images

Patterns, Monsters and Mysteries

Saints' Lives

Brecon Cathedral

Rock Art

River Usk

Selected Exhibitions


Images – Patterns, Monsters and Mysteries

Montage of images for the Patterns, Monsters and Mysteries exhibition.

Patterns, Monsters & Mysteries:
Images from the edges of medieval art in Wales

Oriel Q
Queen’s Hall Gallery, Narberth
Main Gallery
2 August – 6 September 2014
Wednesday – Saturday 10–5

The exhibition was opened by Len Massey, Head of Drawing, Royal College of Art, on Saturday 2 August.

The exhibition was based on patterns and imagery from medieval decorative and architectural arts, interpreted as composite digital images. These images are made by digitally superimposing scanned drawings, paintings and rubbings with photographs. The sources for these images are patterns and images on ceramic tiles at the former Cistercian abbey at Strata Florida, patterns on the coving panels of the wooden rood screen at the church at Llananno, and stone grotesques from the exterior of the Church of All Saints, Gresford.

The meaning of these patterns and images in medieval churches is not immediately obvious to us now, but would have been understood within the context of the mysteries of the Christian faith in the Middle Ages. Many of the sources of patronage that allowed the visual arts to flourish in the church were lost after the Reformation in the sixteenth century, but the decorative arts enjoyed revival as hundreds of churches were built and restored in the nineteenth century, and were usually medievalist in inclination.

The many surviving examples of medieval decorative arts in Wales are sometimes difficult to find, and are often found in dark corners of medieval churches, or high up and beyond the reach of the sixteenth and seventeenth century iconoclasts. The images are an attempt to make this once vibrant visual tradition visible once again, illuminating it with fresh light and colour for our present age.

The work at the gallery consisted of digital prints on paper and canvas, work on glass and projected images.

  Llananno screen.
    Image based on screen from Llananno, 2014

Strata Florida tile, digital image by Martin Crampin.   Strata Florida tile, digital image by Martin Crampin.
Images based on tile from Strata Florida, 2013

Gresford-grotesque.   Gresford-grotesque.
Images based on the exterior stops of the window hoodmoulds at Gresford, 2014

A limited-edition booklet, The Medieval Grotesques of Gresford, with the series of images based on the grotesques at Gresford was produced especially for the exhibition, and copies are still available (contact details below). Price £9.

For images of the two pieces made in stained glass, please see my Stained Glass Blog.

The exhibition space on the stairs was used to exhibit photographs of stained glass from Welsh churches, to mark the publication of my book on the subject, and also ran until 6 September 2014. All of the prints, but not the installation, was subsequently shown at Rhiannon's, Tregaron in autumn 2014.

The Medieval Grotesques of Gresford

Oriel Q, Narberth

Stained Glass from Welsh Churches