The evolving installation by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, was unveiled on 5 August 2014; one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War.
Entitled ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, the installation is being created in the Tower’s famous dry moat. It will continue to grow throughout the summer until the moat is filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies, each poppy representing a British or Colonial military fatality during the war.
The poppies will encircle the Tower, creating not only a spectacular display, but also an inspiring setting for learning activities, as well as providing a location for personal reflection. The scale of the installation reflects the magnitude of such an important centenary, creating a powerful visual commemoration.
The first poppy was planted by YS Crawford Butler, the oldest serving of the site’s Yeoman Warders (popularly known as Beefeaters) back in June.
Since then, hundreds of thousands have been added, cascading down from the Tower’s windows and out across its dry moat.
The final installation will feature 888,246 ceramic poppies to the property of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress.
The last poppy will be symbolically planted on the last day of the installation: November 11, Armistice Day.
Appearing like a blood-red moat around the castle, the poppies pay tribute to the Great War’s fallen troops.
Poppies have long been used as a symbol to remember those killed in conflict, particularly during the two world wars that consumed Europe during the last century…It is known that art always had the sensitivity to pay tribute to those who had lost their lives with unique way. This dramatic art installation is so unique, as it manages using only flowers to reveal a cruel reality. Can you even imagine that this “river” was actually a real bloody river?