The spectacle of 888,246 hand-made ceramic poppies lining the whole moat of the Tower of London is an indescribably poignant reminder of the exact number of British and Colonial soldiers, sailors and airmen who gave their lives in the First World War. The scene is a field of red with one corner of a tower covered with a vertical display which is redolent of a trail of blood draining into the moat.
The artwork is entitled “Blood swept lands and seas of red” and has been created to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. This powerfully evocative symbol has caught the public spirit of remembrance and generated a massive emotional response, with over four million visitors so far. I was surprised that despite the size of the crowds lining the railings overlooking the sea of red, there is a remarkable silence as people find themselves gazing with awe at the hundreds of thousands of poppies nodding in the breeze and contemplate the message they convey.
The artwork will begin to be disassembled on 12th November, the day after Armistice Day. The poppies were offered for sale to the public at £25 each and every single one has been sold, generating over eleven million pounds for charities supporting wounded service men and women and their families.