Tower of London ceramic poppies goes on show in Orkney

A SEA of ceramic poppies, first seen at the Tower of London, has gone on display in Orkney, as part of the First World War commemorations.

Artist Paul Cummins (left) and installation designer Tom Piper with their Weeping Window sculpture in Orkney. Picture :PA
Artist Paul Cummins (left) and installation designer Tom Piper with their Weeping Window sculpture in Orkney. Picture :PA

The Weeping Window sculpture at St Magnus Cathedral marks the centenary of the Battle of Jutland, in which more than 6,000 Royal Navy and 2,500 German sailors lost their lives.

The Battle of Jutland was the largest and most significant naval engagement of the First World War. More than 100,000 men in 250 ships fought in the battle, which took place in the North Sea off the coast of Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula.

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Orkney is the first place in Scotland to display the sculpture by artist Paul Cummins, in which a cascade of poppies appear to “flow” from a window in the western end of the cathedral in Kirkwall.

On 30 May, 1916, the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet sailed to battle from its base at Scapa Flow in Orkney, under the command of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The confrontation began on the afternoon of 31 May.

Jenny Waldman, director of 14-18 NOW which is organising the poppies’ UK tour, said: “The Poppies have a profound effect on everyone as we take them on tour around the UK. They have an incredible ability to bring generations together to share stories of the First World War.

“It will be a particularly poignant moment to see the poppies frame the entrance of St Magnus Cathedral as it hosts the national commemorative service for the Battle of Jutland.”

Steven Heddle, convener of Orkney Island Council, said: “Providing the first opportunity in Scotland for people to experience the poppies is a tremendous honour for our community.

“Today marks the start of commemorative events marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland and the loss of HMS Hampshire in our local waters.

“The Cathedral will be at the heart of those commemorations and provides a wonderful setting for the Weeping Window cascade. The poppies reflect the service and sacrifice of those who took part in the First World War.”

Weeping Window will be in Orkney until 22 June before going on show at the Black Watch Museum in Perth from 29 June to 25 September.