Seán Crampton was an artist of enormous achievement. He was born in 1918 in Manchester. He first studied sculpture during the 1930s in Birmingham and The Central College of Art.
Seán was commissioned into the London Irish Rifles and saw action in the Second World War in the Western Desert, Sicily and Italy. In July 1943 he was awarded the Military Cross and in January 1944 the George Medal.
In 1946 Seán became Professeur de Sculpture at the Anglo-French Art Centre in Saint John’s Wood, London, where he became involved with the French School of Sculpture.
Seán had seventeen one-man shows in London’s West End, and for more than forty years was also a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, including a five year period as President. He was a winner of the society’s Silver Medal and Otto Beit Medal, and was also a member of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Art Workers’ Guild.
Seán became a Catholic in 1975 and moved to Rookery Farmhouse in Calne in 1977 and became a parishioner at Saint Edmund’s. For the church of Saint Edmund’s he designed and made the bronze altar frontal, the main entrance door handles, the sanctuary lamp, the Stations of the Cross and the Annunciation statue.
Seán served as a Foundation Governor at Saint Edmund’s Primary School for many years, and in 1992 to mark the twenty-first anniversary of the school’s opening in 1971 was commissioned to make a phosphor bronze sculpture of Saint Edmund which is now displayed in the school’s entrance area. For this commission Seán worked with his apprentice at the time, the New Zealand sculptor Lucy Bucknall.
Seán died on 16th July 1999 and following a Requiem Mass at Saint Edmund’s Church was buried at Curzon Park cemetery in Calne.
“Although Crampton could claim indebtedness to several great predecessors, he did not have much in common with other sculptors of his generation, and therein lies his originality. You cannot look at one of his figures and expect to understand or appreciate it at a mere glance. It demands concentration of both head and heart. Marina Vaizey had described his works as ‘airy’, and there is indeed a kind of openness and mobility about them, a striving to combat the static nature of the material from which they were moulded.”
The Independent. 23rd July 1999
The photograph at the top of this page shows Seán in his workshop at Rookery Farmhouse, Calne, working on the tenth Station of the Cross, (Jesus is stripped of His garments), for the church.
The photograph below shows Seán’s statue of Saint Edmund displayed at the school.