When planning a journey that involves travelling through London, between King’s Cross and Waterloo railway stations to be precise, I like to leave enough time to see something new in the Capital before moving on. On this occasion I dragged my heavy bag onto the Circle Line and then across Tower Hill to see “Blood Swept Lands and Sea of Red”, an art installation involving the planting of 800,000 ceramic poppies in the dry moat of the Tower of London.
The Royal British Legion’s website informs me that you can commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War by purchasing one of the ceramic poppies, the iconic symbol of remembrance, which form the installation. To quote the website: “The ceramic poppies are available to buy for £25 each and the net proceeds, hoped to be in excess of £15 million if all poppies are sold, will be shared equally amongst a group of carefully selected Service charities including the Legion”. Other charities that will benefit from the donations include the Confederation of Service Charities (COBSEO), Combat Stress, Coming Home, Help for Heroes and SSAFA (formerly the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association).
The Tower of London’s own website gives you a lot more information regarding Paul Cummins, the ceramic artist behind the creation of the poppies, and Tom Piper, who is responsible for the dramatic installation of the poppies.
What the articles about the installation do not prepare you for is the amount of people, lining the railings around the Tower’s outer defences, taking in this extraordinary spectacle. The Tower of London is a popular attraction at the best of times, but I must have been joined by more than a thousand people watching the installation evolve before their eyes, due to the efforts of the volunteers planting the ceramic poppies by hand.
Here are some more photographs I took on Sunday, but because the installation is evolving on a daily basis, these photographs are already out of date, so I would encourage you to go and see it for yourself, if you have the opportunity: