Last weekend were the last days of Poppies Weeping Window iconic WWW1 commemorative ceramic poppies sculpture by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper at Carlisle Castle.
The art work representing dramatic cascade of red poppies pouring down from above and spilling onto the grass at the bottom of the inner wall is a section of the original installation The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in 2014 that consisted of 888,246 poppies. Each poppy represented a British or Colonial soldier perished in WW1 as the sculpture sent a poignant message about the human cost of war.
The Weeping Window featuring between 5,500 and 6,000 handmade flowers on show at Carlisle Castle was part of 14-18 UK-wide WW1 centenary memorial tour. Carlisle was chosen for #PoppiesTour for its strong military traditions, its contribution in training recruits and the fact that the war claimed thousands of lives from the Border Regiment.
John and I didn’t have a chance to experience the overwhelming London display in person four years ago so one hot summer day we took a train journey to Carlisle determined to catch the iconic poppy sculpture there.
I had doubts initially about the spout of poppies arching in the air from the keep. Viewed from the road it oddly reminded of a thin teapot handle. However, in its outer ward/courtyard projection it added to the height of the poppy cascade enhancing its dramatic impact.
As we passed underneath the sculpture we appreciated a further dimension revealed by viewing the flowing arch of poppies against the sky. We were also afforded a chance to examine the craftsmanship and intricacies of ceramic flowers at hand distance.
Although on a smaller scale, the Weeping Window was no less touching and visually captivating than the Tower of London original, a stream of blood-red poppies flowing down and widening to a puddle at the bottom of the wall, individual flowers spreading further like droplets of blood. It was an impressive and beautiful work of art. I was glad we went to see it.
On a lighter note, there was some patriotic grief on the forums about the van outside the castle selling ice cream from Yorkshire cows and not Cumbrian, but we were not that picky and enjoyed a vanilla cone each (with a Flake!).