Weeping Window poppy display reaches Imperial War Museum

A giant poppy display commemorating the First World War, which has been seen by millions, has arrived at the final stop of its four-year nationwide tour.

The Weeping Window sculpture depicts poppies streaming out of an upper window of London’s Imperial War Museum.

The sculpture is part of the artistic project that began in 2014 with the display of 888,246 poppies outside the Tower of London to represent each person from Britain and its colonies who died in the First World War, and various iterations of the design have been on show in locations including Plymouth, Orkney, Southend and Belfast.

More than four million people have seen the poppy displays, according to 14-18 NOW, the art commissioning organisation behind the project.

Speaking outside the museum on Thursday, the sculpture’s designer Tom Piper said: “For me it is very fitting it ends up here at the Imperial War Museum, which is here to examine war and the cost of war.

“In no way do I see it as a glorification of war, it is a tribute to the spirit of those men.”

Around 2,000 handmade poppies have been attached to a scaffolding structure that stretches up the wall of the museum and into the ground below.

The poppy sculpture Weeping Window at the Imperial War Museum
The poppy sculpture Weeping Window at the Imperial War Museum (Yui Mok/PA)

A sea of red appears to be pouring down the museum’s outer wall, mimicking the flowing of blood.

Paul Cummins, an artist who worked on the project, said: “I don’t like the idea of showing a piece that you have to explain.

“You need to celebrate the personal sacrifice that people made, because if you spoke to every soldier and asked them why they went out, they did it because they wanted to and they did it for their families.

“People have cried when they’ve seen it.”

The individual shape of all the poppies is meant as a tribute to the individuality of all the men who fought in the same uniform, he added.

Jenny Waldman, director of 14-18 NOW, said the project aims to “create new work for a new generation”.

“We have been beyond thrilled by the success of this tour.”

14-18 NOW is funded by organisations including the National Lottery and Arts Council England, as well as private companies.

Diane Lees, director general of the Imperial War Museum, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the public to see an artwork which has played such an important role in connecting people with the First World War against the backdrop of the Imperial War Museum, which was founded in the midst of that same conflict to tell the human stories of lives engulfed in war and to show how conflict has shaped the world in which we all live.”

The display can be viewed from Friday until November 18.

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