Picture Post: Poppies spark wave of interest at Sculpture Park

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson
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It was the art installation which captured the nation. Now a little piece of Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red has come to Yorkshire.

The brainchild of artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, the original artwork at the Tower of London created a vast field of ceramic poppies – each one planted by a volunteer in memory of a British or Colonial soldier lost in the First World War.

Inspiration for the work came from a poem by an unknown First World War soldier from Derbyshire, who joined up in the early days of the conflict, but who like so many lost his life on the fields of Flanders. The poem, which begins: “The blood swept lands and seas of red/ Where angels dare to tread...” was discovered by Cummins in the Chesterfield archives, tucked inside the soldier’s unsigned will.

More than five million people visited the resulting installation, which took shape over five months and such was the interest that after the final poppy was planted on November 11 last year, there were calls for it to remain.

However, while the piece was always designed to be temporary, a number of the poppies have now formed a small art work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield.

Wave uses the poppies which originally formed an arch over the entrance to the Tower and which have now been installed around the park’s lower lake and bridge.

Perhaps predictably interest in the park’s latest attraction has been huge, with 20,000 people visiting the installation on the opening weekend.

Andy Carver, director of development and communications at YSP, said: “The response has been phenomenal. Visitors are 
really embracing the 
opportunity to see part of the original display from the Tower of London in a new contemplative setting.”

To complement the installation, every Sunday from now until December, textile artist and designer Harriet Lawton will be holding family of workshops to encourage visitors to create their own works of art inspired by Wave.

Technical details: Nikon D3s 80-200mm 320th @ f8 200ISO

Picture: Tony Johnson