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Iconic poppy sculpture Weeping Window opens in Carlisle

Poppies: Weeping Window at Carlisle Castle. (Stuart Walker/English Heritage)

The iconic poppy sculpture Weeping Window by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper will open tomorrow, Wednesday 23 May, at Carlisle Castle. The work will be on site until 8 July 2018 as part of the final year of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the poppies.

The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. The sculptures have already been displayed in 15 locations since the tour started in 2015 and viewed by over 3.75 million people to date. At the end of the tour they will become part of the Imperial War Museums’ collection.

Throughout the First World War, Carlisle Castle was the headquarters for the Border Regiment, one of the oldest in the British Army. The poppy sculpture will be displayed from the top of the keep, arching over the inner ward wall and cascading down into the outer ward of the castle complex, an area which incorporates the military barracks and parade ground where troops were housed and trained in preparation for front-line combat in the First World War. A total of 23,000 recruits passed through the castle during the war.

L-R: Artist Paul Cummins, Chief Executive of English Heritage Kate Mavor, Executive Producer Nigel Hinds and designer Tom Piper (pictured right). Stuart Walker/English Heritage

Andrea Selley, Historic Properties Director of English Heritage North, said: “The installation has been a true labour of love and an insight into the intricacies of building such a unique sculpture. The level of commitment of the installation team has been remarkable and with its completion, we are all the more privileged to host Weeping Window. The historical legacy of the castle is such that this is the perfect location especially in the last year of the Poppies tour and we look forward to welcoming visitors to see what is an extraordinary work of art, within an extraordinary location.”

Site manager John Bonner (left) and Sir Tim Laurence Chairman of English Heritage take a moment to view the sculpture ahead of opening to the public on 23rd May. Stuart Walker/English Heritage

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said: “The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we are delighted to present Weeping Window at Carlisle Castle as part of the ongoing tour. We are so grateful to artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper for these two enormously powerful artworks of national significance that continue to inspire all who see them.”

Weeping Window is from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one for every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War. Together, the sculptures Wave and Weeping Window are made of over 11,000 poppies.

Soldiers from The Royal Logistic Corp take a moment to view the sculpture ahead of opening to the public on 23rd May. Stuart Walker/English Heritage

The tour has been made possible by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Backstage Trust, the Clore Duffield Foundation and the National Lottery. DAF Trucks are the transport sponsor for the UK presentations, and 14-18 NOW is delighted to partner with DAF on making this historic project a reality. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation. Storage of the sculptures is generously provided by MTEC.

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