Poppy monument reaction ‘disturbed’ designer

Visitors at 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' by artist Paul Cummins at the Tower of London. Picture: PA

Visitors at 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' by artist Paul Cummins at the Tower of London. Picture: PA

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THE designer of the Tower of London poppy exhibition has revealed he was disturbed by “the frenetic, obsessive surge of emotionalism” it created, according to reports.

Tom Piper was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honour’s List in recognition of his hugely popular installation, which attracted millions of visitors who queued in the wind and rain to see it.

But the artist told The Independent he was “not comfortable” with the outpouring of emotion it triggered.

He said: “When it got to a point where it started to become a sort of pilgrimage, it felt familiar in a way that I was not comfortable with.

“There have been other moments when the British public has focused on something like that. [I was] slightly perturbed by the frenetic, obsessive surge of emotionalism that the installation invoked.”

An estimated five million visitors flocked to see the display, entitled Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red, which was co-created with ceramicist Paul Cummins.

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The exhibit saw 888,246 ceramic poppies gradually planted in the moat at the Tower - one for each British or Colonial military death during the First World War.

The Prime Minister and royal family were among those who planted ceramic poppies as part of the exhibit, installed as part of commemorations marking 100 years since the start of the Great War.

In her Christmas message the Queen spoke of her own visit to see the poppies, saying: “The only possible reaction to walking among them was silence.”

The exhibit was so popular a national campaign was launched to extend it.

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