To mark one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World war, an incredibly impressive and striking art installation called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red‘ has been installed (and continues to be installed) at the Tower of London.
I understand that it was the imagination of ceramic artist Paul Cummins who proposed the idea and with the assistance of stage designer Tom Piper, the project is coming to fruition.
888,246 ceramic poppies, each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war, will progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat over this Summer.
I’ve seen photographs and listened to commentary on the radio talking about the installation but truly until I arrived there on Wednesday evening I’d not realised the full extent of the impact.
The installation itself is stunning, rich red in colour, each poppy beautifully crafted and individual in it’s perfect form. Yet together creating this image of blood pouring from the Tower into the Moat in such a striking and moving way.
We arrived shortly before the evening’s Roll of Honour was to be read. As we stood looking down into the Moat we listened to the Yeoman Warder reading out a list names. Each name and rank was read with care and respect. The Yeoman looking up at the silent group of onlookers and pausing after each name. At the end of tonight’s long list of names of soldiers who had died too young and lost their lives fighting for our Great Britain, an officer moved up to the ‘mound’ and played the Last Post. Each note resonated around the Moat and almost clung to the Tower before drifting off into the evening’s last light as the sun went down. Still and solemn silence from the large group of onlookers with most of us occasionally dabbing an eye. An incredibly moving experience and one I shall remember for a very long time.
Since attending, I’ve now registered as a volunteer so that I can play a part in this installation but more importantly to honour the men and women who gave their lives in World War I.
If are in London before the installation is dismantled carefully on 11 November 2014, you MUST go to see it.