Saturday 25 March - Sunday 14 May 2017
Weeping Window will open at Hull Maritime Museum between mid April and mid May 2017 specially presented by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary. Weeping Window is a cascade comprising several thousand handmade ceramic poppies seen pouring from a high window to the ground below; Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks. These two sculptures, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper are brought to audiences at venues across the country by 14-18 NOW as part of the Poppies tour. As with all 14-18 NOW projects, the presentation of these sculptures to new audiences across the UK aims to prompt a new, nationwide dialogue around the legacy of the First World War.
The installation will be a huge focal point for many visitors. The museum is the most identifiable building in Hull’s city centre, with three great domes and maritime references inside and out, hinting at the building’s former use as the city’s Dock Offices and now offering a fitting tribute to Hull's remarkable maritime past. The former Dock Offices survived the bombings of two world wars and bore witness to mass recruitment of the Hull Pals during First World War in Queen Victoria Square. The building has witnessed victory celebrations and funeral possessions past its doors, including that of the E13 British submarine crew killed in neutral Danish waters in 1915.
The breath-taking sculptures were initially conceived as the key dramatic sculptural elements in the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in the autumn of 2014. Over the course of their time at the Tower, the two sculptures were gradually surrounded by a vast field of ceramic poppies, each one planted by a volunteer in memory of the life of a British or Colonial soldier lost during the First World War. In their original setting they captured the public imagination and were visited by over five million people.
The original installation was conceived of as transitory, the sea of poppies growing in size until the final one was planted on 11 November 2014. On completion, however, it was agreed that the works of art at the heart of this broader act of memorial should be preserved for the nation. 14-18 NOW is grateful to the Backstage Trust and Clore Duffield Foundation for their support in securing these sculptures for posterity.
Since the tour began in 2015, the sculptures have been seen by nearly two million people. Wave and Weeping Window will continue to be on view at selected locations around the UK, arriving at IWM North and IWM London in the autumn of 2018. The sculptures will then be gifted to the Imperial War Museums.