Yorkshire Sculpture Park hosts iconic poppy installation

PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 November 2015 | UPDATED: 18:37 06 November 2015

The beautiful blooms of Wave cascading into the lower lake at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (photograph: Nigel Roddis, Getty Images)

The beautiful blooms of Wave cascading into the lower lake at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (photograph: Nigel Roddis, Getty Images)

2015 Getty Images

First World War poppy commemoration made famous by the Tower of London come to the white rose county

The original Blood Swept Lands & Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London (photograph: Richard Lea-Hair, Historic Royal Palaces)The original Blood Swept Lands & Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London (photograph: Richard Lea-Hair, Historic Royal Palaces)

More than five million people made their way to the Tower of London last year to see its deeply moving First World War poppy commemoration. Contemplative queues of people snaked silently past the immense installation; some arriving at dawn for a few brief moments of solitary thought before the crowds began to grow.

Blood Swept Lands & Seas of Red, an original concept created by artist Paul Cummins and designed by Tom Piper in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces, comprised 888,246 ceramic poppies, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the conflict.

After the exhibition closed, all the poppies were sold, raising millions of pounds for six service charities and allowing members of the public to own a piece of history.

Unfortunately, many people couldn’t make it to the Tower of London, because of distance, time constraints or lack of money, missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But now, thanks to a touring show of poppy sculptures, people can pay their respects and see something truly spectacular once again.

A poppy honours every death in the British and Colonial forces during the First World WarA poppy honours every death in the British and Colonial forces during the First World War

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is hosting Wave until January 10th as part of the UK tour organised by 14-18 NOW, the lead body in First World War centenary art commissions. Peter Murray CBE, founding and executive director of YSP, said: ‘We’re very pleased to help extend the life and impact of Wave by offering a completely different setting for the public to enjoy this iconic work.

‘The sculpture rises from our historic lake surrounded by 500 acres of stunning Yorkshire countryside and woodland. The calmness and nature of the park offers visitors an ideal space for contemplation and reflection.’

His thoughts were echoed by secretary of state for culture, media and sport John Whittingdale, who went on to applaud the concept of creating a travelling exhibition.

‘This is art at its most powerful and it’s only right that everyone should have the chance to see it. The London installation had a huge impact on all those who saw it and the new installations will do the same. This is another important opportunity for us to remember and pay tribute to those who gave their lives in the First World War.’

A short 1km walk from the visitor centre gives you this stunning view from the bridge (photograph: Nigel Roddis, Getty Images)A short 1km walk from the visitor centre gives you this stunning view from the bridge (photograph: Nigel Roddis, Getty Images)

Two commemorative sculptures are currently travelling the UK including, in total, more than 10,000 poppies, saved for the nation by the Backstage Trust and Clore Duffield Foundation, and gifted to 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums.

If you want to see Wave, head down to YSP’s lower lake. It’s just a 1km walk from the main visitor centre and is surrounded by world-class sculptures by artists like Anthony Caro, Antony Gormley and Julian Opie and heritage features such as the Bretton Estate’s grand mansion house and historic Cascade Bridge.

Bigger and better

An artist’s impression of the new Yorkshire Sculpture Park visitors centreAn artist’s impression of the new Yorkshire Sculpture Park visitors centre

Yorkshire Sculpture Park has announced ambitious plans to create an additional new £3.8m visitor centre.

Due for completion in late 2017, it will build capacity at the award-winning visitor attraction in Wakefield, which already attracts more than 400,000 people a year.

Designed by London-based architects Feilden Fowles, the centre will enhance visitor experience and security at the southern entrance to the park and contribute to YSP’s long-term financial sustainability.

The environmentally-friendly building, which will include a restaurant, gallery, foyer and shop, has been designed to make a minimum impact on the site and, in common with previous YSP developments, to work sympathetically with the historic landscape.

The project is part of a continuing series of developments at YSP that began with the opening of Longside Gallery in 2001, the main visitor centre in 2002, the introduction of the Underground Gallery in 2005, the transformation of the estate kennel block into the Rushbond Learning Centre and café in 2011 and, most recently in 2014, the refurbishment of the chapel.

‘The new visitor centre is a reflection of our ambition to increase long term resilience and sustainability by building audiences, further developing our artistic programme and increasing visitor income,’ said YSP executive director Peter Murray.

‘In our 40th anniversary year, the centre will provide an important new element to our physical infrastructure, bringing together all of the successful elements of previous developments. It will provide a platform to sustain and increase visitor numbers over the next decade, offering exciting new artistic experiences for the public to enjoy, whilst boosting our commercial income, providing sustainability in the long term as reductions in public funding continue to take effect.’

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