July 17th, 1914, marked the United Kingdom’s first full day of involvement in World War One. Exactly 100 years later, the moat of the Tower of London began to gradually fill with large ceramic poppies, in an art project named Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. By the time the installation was completed, on November 11th that year, the Tower’s moat held 888,246 poppies, one for each British or colonial military fatality in the so-called ‘War to End All Wars’.
The massive undertaking was created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper. In addition to the moat full of poppies, it included two features called Wave, which crested the bridge visitors cross to enter the castle, and Weeping Window, in which poppies seemed to pour out of the Legge’s Mount bastion.
Although my escapades in the newly released Jaspa’s Journey adventure, The Pride of London, take me to the Tower of London, sadly I didn’t get there while the poppies were in place. Thankfully though, the Wave and Weeping Window sculptures are currently doing a tour of the UK. And I was lucky enough to see Poppies: Wave at Lincoln Castle this summer.
Despite comprising a tiny fraction of the poppies from the full project, Poppies: Wave was still and impressive sight. And although a few people claimed the entire Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was “prettified and toothless”, I for one found just this small part of it extremely moving.
After Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was dismantled, UK households were able to buy a poppy, with the money raised going to charity. Below are a couple of photos of me with Rich’s Mum & Dad’s poppy, to give you an idea just how big and substantial they are.
The first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes early next year.
Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!
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