V&A Explanatory Text

[1]Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red


[2]Tower of London Poppy Memorial

[3] The Tower of London, Historic Royal Palaces, London (2014)


[4] The V&A purchased 16 ceramic poppies by artist Paul Cummins from this poignant and dramatic installation.  Commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, each of the 888,246 flowers represented a British or Colonial military fatality.  [5] Sixteen of these were V&A staff.  [6] These poppies honour the sacrifice of the men whose names are recorded in the Museum’s main entrance on a memorial tablet designed by sculptor Eric Gill  (1919).


[7] Each ceramic poppy was painstakingly handmade under Paul Cummins’ direction.  [8] No two are identical, emphasising the individuality of the Fallen.  [9] All the ceramic poppies displayed were sold to raise funds for Service Charities.


[10] The connection between individual flowers and mass interaction is key to all Paul Cummins’ work.  [11] The extraordinary emotional impact of this installation derived from the colour, overall form and spectacle, as well as the vast fluid scale, which increased as poppies were ‘planted’. [12]  It enabled thousands of visitors to visualise the number of lives lost, take time to reflect, and afterwards to purchase the poppies in commemoration.


[13] Museum number:  C9 – 24~2015