Tower of London Poppies: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the art installation at the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1.

  • The official title of the art installation is Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.
  • It was made by Paul Cummins, a ceramic artist, and was set by stage designed, Tom Piper.

  • The artwork is made up of 888,246 ceramic poppies, one for every Commonwealth soldier killed in World War 1. The poppies were arranged to  look like they were cascading out of the walls of the Tower of London, filling the moat. Poppies were added during the summer of 2014 until they had all been placed ready for the close of the installation on 11th November – Remembrance Day.
  • The installation opened on 5th August 2014.
  • All of the ceramic poppies used in the installation have been sold to members of the public for £25. 10% of the sale price will be divided between six charities: Cobeso, Combat Stress, Coming Home, Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion and SSAFA.
  • Every poppies have been handmade and, as a result, all of the poppies are unique.
  • The poppies were produced in Derbyshire using techniques which would have been used when World War 1 was being fought.
  • Tower Hill and the Moat Path offered the best view of the poppies.
  • Jonathan Jones, in an article in the Guardian newspaper, suggested that the installation was too pretty for a World War 1 memorial. He thought the poppies should be replaced with barbed wire and bones.
  • Paul Cummins lost a finger during the creation of the artwork. His hand was crushed by an industrial roller.

  • 8000 volunteers helped to plant the ceramic poppies.
  • Queen Elizabeth II visited the installation, as did Prince William.
  • More than 4 million people visited the installation.
  • More than £10 million was raised for charity.
  • Paul Cummins got the name of the installation from a line in the will of a soldier from Derbyshire who died in Flanders. The Blood Swept lands and seas of red, where angels feat to tread.

What next? Learn more about World War 1.