This could end up being epic, i am working with the Tower of London , always strange after doing Richard III , to design an installation of over 880,000 poppies created by Ceramic artist Paul Cummins to commemorate the allied dead of the First World War. Paul came to the Tower with the idea to fill the moat with poppies, inspired by a living will he found a moving poem from an unknown soldier sent home before his death.

The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

By Anon – Unknown Soldier


The blood swept lands and seas of red,

Where angels dare to tread.

As I put my hand to reach,

As God cried a tear of pain as the angels fell,

Again and again.


As the tears of mine fell to the ground

To sleep with the flowers of red

As any be dead


My children see and work through fields of my

Own with corn and wheat,

Blessed by love so far from pain of my resting

Fields so far from my love.


It be time to put my hand up and end this pain

Of living hell, to see the people around me

Fall someone angel as the mist falls around

And the rain so thick with black thunder I hear

Over the clouds, to sleep forever and kiss

The flower of my people gone before time

To sleep and cry no more


I put my hand up and see the land of red,

This is my time to go over,

I may not come back

So sleep, kiss the boys for me


My role is to work out how to place these around the moat and hopefully create a few incidents where the poppies seem to become more fluid and the sea of red forms into a wave or pours out of a window . It is also an amazing bit of military precision planning as  from 17 July we will have over 200 volunteers a day planting 50 poppies a square metre as well as working with scenery builders and scaffolding firms to create the ‘events’. More anon !



  1. congratulations, stunning

  2. SL Boulanger says

    A magnificent and moving commemoration. Many thanks.

  3. James Morris Oakes says

    Possibly the best bit of public sculpture in uk for years.

    Jmo x

  4. Natasha hilsum says

    Hello tom piper have just seen your work at the tower and wondered how i go about purchasing a poppy?


    • JANET PERRIN says


  5. I live in Plymouth. Were the poppies made at TR2 here? I am coming to London tomorrow and shall definitely be visiting this amazing sight. Well done.

  6. I have just discovered that TR2 here in Plymouth in the west country were the makers of the scaffold and the placing of the poppies on it was actually carried out here over a considerable length of time and transported to the Tower. What a shame we don’t get a mention.

  7. The structures of the wave and weeping window were made by T R 2 .A brilliant welder named Martin led the team. The poppies are made by Paul Cummins and his team in his workshop in Derby. For details on volunteering and buying poppies go to the tower web site

  8. Jakki Pearce says

    The red poppies are a moving tribute to those who gave their lives, we must never forget

  9. John Pritchard says

    In order to keep minds focussed on the carnage over the period of WW1,I suggest that as soon as the site is cleared,new poppies are planted monthly in proportion to the numbers killed,terminating on 11/11/18.
    In addition pink poppies for war widows,blue for invalided out and white or yellow for “others” should be planted alongside them to emphasise the full impact of the devastation ,
    Yours hopefully,John Pritchard

  10. Elena Christe says

    Yesterday evening I received my poppy. It is so beautiful because I know it was made by hand. I truly believe Tom Pipper and his team were inspired to create the “Tower of London Experience”, the image of which will stay with people a lifetime. I am thrilled that I bought one. My father was in WWI and fortunately came back. His cousin did not. Thank you from the heart for your “miracle”

  11. Alan John Jones says

    I have had an accident with my poppy. As I was putting it in the window for VE Day I dropped and broke it. Is there anyway I can get a replacement. Thank you

    • sorry I am afraid you would need to contact Paul Cummins as the artist whose workshops made the poppies, they were all sold or are now part of the IWM collection, but if it is not too broken can I suggest you glue the pieces back together . In some ways a broken poppy is even more poignant . best wishes


  1. […] Designed to evoke an image of blood flowing out from and around the Tower of London, the installation is gradually being expanded through to Armistice Day this November. Eventually there will be one poppy for each British casualty during the war, making the full display huge – and hence explaining the fact that there’s also a stage designer involved, Tom Piper, who has written more about the project over on his site. […]

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