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Poppies at the Tower of London

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
By Paul Cummings and Tom Piper, 2014

Paul Cummings, the artist, talked about what inspired him:
“One rainy day in 2012, I ducked into my local library for shelter and, for some reason, started looking at wills. I found one written by a woman from Derby who had disguised herself as a man and gone off to fight – and die – in the first world war. She had written her will phonetically, which made it easier for me to read as I’m dyslexic. That was one reason why I connected with it. Another was the phrase: “Blood swept lands and seas of red where angels fear to tread.” It leapt out at me, made me think about the war’s death toll. With a bit of research, I discovered that there had been 888,246 British and Colonial military fatalities.

I decided to represent those deaths through ceramic flowers, something I had first started making at university. Ceramics are transient and fragile, like we are.”

Learn more about the art installation:
Visit the Tower of London Website:

Watch a Newsround article:

Found out how the poppies were made:

Hear what the installation meant to some people: