Iconic Poppy installation heading to Yorkshire Sculpture Park

IT WAS the iconic installation that brought the loss of British lives in the First World War to stark realisation through the power of art.

Thursday, 30th July 2015, 1:53 pm
Queen Elizabeth II visits the Tower of London's Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation in October 2014. Photo: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Now, Wave, part of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation that drew thousands of visitors to the Tower of London last year, is set to be displayed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The original installation ran at the Tower from August to November 2014, where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.

Sculptor Paul Cummins and theatre designer Tom Piper became MBEs for their work.

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Wave is to be installed amongst the beautiful setting of YSP’s lower lake, in the grounds of the West Bretton park around 1km from the Visitor Centre, from September 2015 to early January 2016. It is a curling swathe of poppies, which rose up to create an arch over the entrance to the Tower.

YSP’s executive director Peter Murray said: “We’re very pleased to help extend the life and impact of Wave by offering a completely different setting for the public to enjoy this iconic work.

“The sculpture will rise from Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s historic lake, surrounded by 500 acres of stunning Yorkshire countryside and woodland. The calmness and nature of the Park will offer visitors an ideal space for contemplation and reflection.”

As part of the tour, the installation known as the Weeping Window - acascade of poppies that was seen pouring out of a high window at the Tower to the grassed moat below - can be seen at Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland from September to October 2015 and at St George’s Hall, Liverpool from November 2015 to January 2016.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: “It is fantastic that there will be new ceramic poppy installations in different parts of the country. This is art at its most powerful and it is only right that everyone should have the chance to see them.

“The London installation had a huge impact on all those who saw it and the new installations will do the same. This is an another important opportunity for us to remember and pay tribute to those who gave their lives in the First World War”

More than 10,000 poppies make up the two installations, saved for the nation by the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation when the original poppies were sold for charity. It donated them to tour organisers 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums.

Financial support for the tour has come from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and fundraising for the presentations is ongoing.

Once the installation is installed at YSP, a shuttle bus will be available to transport visitors directly to Lower Lake from YSP Centre and nearby accessible parking will be available for Blue Badge holders.

A complementary events and learning programme will accompany the installation.

On choosing YSP, the 14-18 NOW panel said: “The panel was impressed by the site proposed within Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which has 500 acres of parkland and five world class galleries.

“WW1 affected many communities across Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Regiment raised 24 Battalions served by 65,000 men, of whom 9,000 died.”