Within the medieval walls of the magnificent Ripon Cathedral there is a marvel that’s hidden in plain sight.
The pulpit is an early twentieth century design icon of the finest repoussé metalwork. It holds within its design DNA the tulip countenance of Art Nouveau, and yet, with its chevron pattern and strikingly modern staircase, it heralds the dawn of Art Deco.
The best works of art have multiple dimensions nested within them. Wilson, in offering the pulpit up like a chalice, draws the viewer in to the details within the metalwork.
Look beyond the vine leaves and cherubs and there is a shimmering patina of bronze, gold and cadmium green.
Another architect, Edgar Wood, in an address to the Manchester Society of Architects in 1908, best describes the effervescent wonder of Wilson’s work:
“He employs his materials with real power, seeing those that will best convey his aims, the glory of soft gold, the luscious and crystal richness of marble, the reflecting surface of metals, the sparkle and preciousness of jewels….Nor does his message end with this but in addition there is the strong imaginative faculty which is manifest in the subtlety and mystery of arranged light – which forces the imagination to dream in the dark splendours of colouring – half seen, half guessed in the high obscurity of his rich interiors..”