Tower poppies ‘perfect’ in Yorkshire landscape

THE GLISTENING sight of ceramic poppies in a historic lake in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park has double significance - the installation of an iconic artwork, saved for the public, and reflections of the region’s war dead, forever remembered in the sculpture.

Wave at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.   Picture Tony Johnson
Wave at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Picture Tony Johnson

Wave, part of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation that drew thousands of the Tower of London last year to commemorate those lost in the First World War, opens at the West Bretton park on Saturday.

The men behind the piece, ceramic artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, who were both made MBE for their work, were at the park today as it was unveiled.

Originally, the 888,246 poppies were to be sold to individual buyers to raise money for charity, but more than 10,000, making up two individual sculptures, Wave and Weeping Widow, were bought by the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation for public display.

'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' poppy installation at the Tower of London Photo by Sebastian Remme/REX

Mr Cummins, who is from Chesterfield, said it was fitting to see the work installed in the Yorkshire countryside, as the region lost so many in the war.

“There is real meaning here,” he said. “The reflections in the lake, and the landscape around it, sets it off beautifully.”

For designer Mr Piper, it was a real challenge to set the sculpture over the bridge and among the water. Specialists structures had to be created to support the poppies and welders worked on site to keep everything in place.

He said: “We were wading around in the mud, using cable ties to make sure everything kept together. It was a time consuming logistical challenge but it looks perfect in such a dramatic location.”

Technicians during the installation of the poppy sculpture Wave at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Picture Scott Merrylees