Material Matters: Wood

Material Matters: Wood

The distortion was caused by the devil tweaking the spire in anguish on seeing a virtuous virgin below. Or it could have been by carpenters who were untrained in the use of green timber after their older, skilled colleagues had been wiped out by the Black Death.

Material Matters: Glass

Material Matters: Glass

For a flamboyant extravaganza of ornate glasswork, the prize must go to the Salisbury pub in London’s theatreland. Here a visual rococo symphony is played out in swirling plant forms, overflowing fruit bowls, curling fronds, thrusting tendrils, bursting flowers and dangling seed-heads.

Material Matters: Metal

Material Matters: Metal

Cast at our feet. A boy and a girl stare up from what looks like a cast-iron coalhole cover in an East End pavement. As their antiquated clothes, open book and outer circle of pencils all suggest, they are schoolchildren stepping out of history.