Breathtaking Photos of the Tower of London Adorned with 888,246 Ceramic Poppies to Commemorate WWI


To honor the centennial of Britain’s beginnings in World War I, a pair of artist teamed up to work on an incredible installation, which you can see in these stunning photographs.

Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red,” the display was put together by artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper, and when it’s all said and done it will consist of 888,246 red ceramic poppies surrounding the dry moat of the Tower of London. Each of the individual flowers represents a British or Colonial Military fatality.

The construction of the piece is being done by a number of volunteers over the course of the summer and is already well on its way to completion. The final flower will symbolically be set in its resting place on November 11th, Remembrance Day for the Commonwealth.

Below are images released by the Historic Royal Palaces showing the breathtaking display in progress:










To read more about the installation, you can head on over to the Historic Royal Palaces website by clicking here. You can also keep an eye on the progress of the piece in pictures by following the hashtag #TowerPoppies on Twitter.

(via Colossal)

Image credits: Photographs courtesy of the Historic Royal Palaces

  • Tobias W.

    There’s nothing “breathtaking” about these images. Average, slightly over-exposed images that look more like ordinary tourist shots. Sorry, not impressed.

  • Thelma Wickwere

    It’s not the photographs that are stunning; it’s the visual illustration of the loss of life that takes my breath away. So graphic and so sad…

  • Tobias W.

    You’re right. Petapixel is click-baiting with their headline. It should have read: “Photos of the Tower of London Adorned with Breathtaking 888,246 Ceramic Poppies to Commemorate WWI”

  • Greg Heller

    I’m with you Thelma, it makes me think of blood pouring out from that window, my hats off to Paul Cummins and Tom Piper. My heartfelt thanks to all those patriots that gave their all for everyone.

  • Thelma Wickwere

    Much better headline, Tobias W., than Petapixel posted. Do they have any openings for an editor?

  • Don Davis

    This is a beautiful art installation.

  • Tobias W.

    They won’t be able to afford me. ;)

  • John Cooper

    Picky, picky, picky. The photos are breathtaking if you stop and realize what each flower represents. It’s not a photo contest or Ansel Adams exhibition.

  • anim8tr

    Totally agree. Love the art installation but the photos are so-so. In fact the first first castle photograph isn’t even straight.This post really doesn’t have much to do with photography.

  • whatever_dude

    ??? These photos are very effective. Imagine them over-saturated and excessively post-processed until they look like a comic book movie and maybe you’ll like them better.

  • Fin

    What on earth has this display to do with the Tower of London? And out a window??

    WW1 was a bit late for the goings-on in the Tower. Totally inappropriate. Did someone fail history?

    Sounds as if the technicians (artists??) wanted a prominent venue and nothing else was available or suitable (and nor is the Tower). I guess Whitehall is too busy and the IWM is too out of the way, but to shove it here is beyond stupid.

  • HE

    You seem to be angry about this. Why, I wonder? It seems as though you feel it has harmed you in some way. You also seem to believe that because of events you can name which took place in the Tower (the so-called “goings-on” [sic]) happened a long time ago, then the Tower should have been pulled down as soon as Walter Raleigh walked out of it!
    Silly, really since it was prison during WWI and is one of the most popular and frequently visited places in the UK. The point of this is for people to see thousands upon thousands of small, beautiful flowers as analogs for small, beautiful human lives. One little poppy fluttering in a field doesn’t get much notice. But a flood of nearly a million is a remarkable thing to see. It illustrates all the blood that was shed during the War To End All Wars which didn’t. If the Crown approved the use of the Tower for this installation, why are you so ticked off about it?

  • MagicStarER

    Because it seems like a morbid glorification of war and death.

  • HE

    Well, then, there is just no reasoning with you if you can’t understand something after it was clearly explained to you.
    This is a protest. It uses an allegory as an illustration. It doesn’t “glorify” war in any way whatsoever. How you can believe such a thing is beyond me. I don’t think that you actually DO believe it because it’s just insanely ridiculous to do so, but for some perverse reason you have your back up about this and are now stuck defending a silly position and are angrily lashing out about it. Do you think that anti-war protest songs like “Universal Soldier” or “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” glorify war because they speak directly about who is doing what and what happens to them?
    Let me ask you this way: Would you feel better about it if instead of individual poppies, the piece featured photos of the bloodied, bloated, rotting corpse of every soldier who died in WWI?

  • CKS

    Check the alignment with the buildings at the right: it’s straight. the problem with photographing the Tower of London is that the building, itself, is all angles and curves. There’s nothing straight about it. Any shot taken from a distance like that is bound to look slightly off.

  • CKS

    How a moat filled with blood “glorifi[es] war and death” is quite beyond me. It is quite clearly indicative of an appalling loss of life, leaving plenty of room for people to still think of “sacrifice” or “duty” or whatever else tends to come with remembrance. It’s actually a remarkably effective installation.