Jacqueline Poncelet’s monumental Wrapper (2012) covers part of Edgware Road station, with a series of tile murals reflecting the history of the area, while Matthew Raw’s handmade tiling for Seven Sisters station (2017) works on a more intimate scale. Raw’s work, which explores the potential of tiles to connect with a sense of place and belonging, is also in the Museum of London’s permanent collection. Panel Discussion (2016) is a quartet of three-dimensional terracotta tiles, adorned with a quotation from Henry Mayhew, the social reformer and author of London Lives and the London Poor (1851):
‘He knew that this was London. England was in London somewhere, but he did not know where.’
The quotation is spelled out in delicate, hand-formed clay lettering, an integral part of the tiles themselves. The tile becomes a time capsule, something durable and solid which connects us with Londoners of a century ago. Another contemporary work in the museum’s collection, Laura Carlin’s History of London (2016), takes this idea literally. A huge mural composed of 678 individual tiles, it illustrates a whimsical version of London’s past from prehistory to the present day. It invites us to look closely, and pore over each individual tile for fear of missing some crucial detail. A reminder, as we walk the streets of London, to look up and around ourselves, and enjoy this city of tiles.