Flanagan learnt to carve stone while at Birmingham College of Art in the mid 1950s, but then did not return to the material until 1973. He does not like to carve deeply into his chosen block of stone and favours letting the stone reveal its own 'geography'. 'A Nose in Repose' was made in his studio at Watlington in the Chilterns, from Honiton stone from Edgehill Quarry. Flanagan first saw the stone as a pyramidal shape, but then felt it looked like 'a nose... a civil weaponry at peace'. This makes a veiled reference to the Battle of Edgehill during England's civil war. The wood supporting the stone is composed of planed and sandblasted pit-props made at Brackley, Northamptonshire.