By Philip Wilkinson
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To create the relief design, a wooden stamp was pressed into the clay while it was still wet. Only one wooden stamp, shown above, has survived from this period. Next to the stamp is a modern leadglazed red earthenware tile that was made from it. Scrolls represent clouds Edge has crumbled away with time PHOENIX RISING Some of the finest tiles, often showing abstract patterns, were made in Islamic countries. They are still used to decorate the interior walls of many buildings. Sometimes the tiles were square, but often more intricate shapes were used, as with this star from 13th-century Persia.
38 Rounded finial Carved scroll design POINT OF ENTRY Many Italian Renaissance buildings have their main rooms on the first floor, which is not at ground level but raised slightly. The entrance hall is usually reached by way of an outside staircase built of stone. It often has carved balusters and other ornamental details. Underside of tread WINDING STAIRS Many medieval buildings had stone spiral staircases. Such stairs were simple to build into a circular turret and had the advantage over wooden ones of being fireproof.
Sometimes the door is the most important feature in a room. Doors and their frames are usually made of wood, so it made sense for the carpenter to pass them on to the carver for decoration. The jambs (the uprights of the doorframe) were often carved to imitate classical columns, or the top of the frame was ornamented with rich scrolls, as on this 18th-century example. The curling acanthus leaf shows the influence of ancient Greek architecture. Side view 54 Front view Molded beam STANDING GUARD Stokesay Castle is an English fortified manor house.