Sunday, 2 November 2014

Seas of red


I was pleased to be able to visit the installation currently being 'planted' in the moat of the Tower of London. Its full title is: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. Conceived by ceramic artist Paul Cummins to commemorate the centenary of the start of WW1, it will, when finished, consist of 888,246 ceramic poppies, each representing a military fatality during that war. After it is completed, the poppies will be sold to raise funds for charities working with the armed services. It's very impressive, quite breath-taking in fact, literally a sea of red all around the Tower. It was unfortunately hard to get a good photo, what with the huge crowds looking over the walls and the harsh sunshine and shadow. The poppies actually cascade rather beautifully out of a window in the Tower, but you can barely see that in my picture, as it was in deep shade at the time I was visiting. Mo at 'Fresh Eyes on London' had a much better photo of that part of the installation, though there weren't so many poppies when she featured it back in July - see here.
The installation closes on 11 November and I gather the crowds are now considerable: see here for a report and a nice aerial shot.

10 comments:

  1. It looks as though you were not alone when looking at this. Somehow it just seems too pretty to commemorate such a tragic time in our history. And the figure you've quoted is only British military deaths. The total numbers of deaths, worldwide, military and civilian, is reckoned to be around 17,000,000. Not pretty at all.

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  2. I'm not a great one for some of the art installations one sees, which I often feel are pretentious and lacking in any artistic skill. This one seems to to evoke some sense of the losses incurred in just one part of that terrible conflict. The fact that each poppy represents an individual, with hopes, dreams and loved ones, brings home some of the enormity and waste of war far better than statistics alone can. We hope to see this remarkable sight next week. Thanks Jenny.

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  3. It was on the news tonight too. Considering the crowds you got a great shot.

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  4. I've seen it on our news and it is so sobering! I think it works extremely well to drive home the message of loss.

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  5. We were here again yesterday for sunset as one of our ancestors was read out on the Roll of Honour. So quiet even though there were thousands there to watch and listen to the names being read out. Very moving.

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  6. Actually you got quite a nice photograph. Well done!

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  7. Impressive work by both you and the artist.

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  8. This project is both striking and depressing. It is so hard to imagine so many people dying in that war. And it is hard to imagine an artist having the patience (and funds!) to craft all of these ceramic poppies and place them all.

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  9. Hi Jenny - much better photos than I took ... I've written the history about the installation today ... I'm pleased I visited and can think about the effect of the art work, as well obviously as relating back across the Tower's history and the horrors of both world wars ...

    Cheers Hilary

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