WATCH: First look at Portsmouth's evocative poppy exhibition marking WW1 centenary

A POPPY exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War has been unveiled in Portsmouth.

Thursday, 12th April 2018, 2:42 pm
Updated Friday, 13th April 2018, 4:41 pm
Poppies at Fort Nelson. Picture: David George

The Wave poppy sculpture, the work of artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, was opened at Royal Armouries Fort Nelson in Portsmouth this morning.

The museum will be hosting the sculpture until June 24 – as part of a national tour for the sculpture.

Visitors to the museum will see the poppies slope up the hill, with the crest of the wave hanging over their heads.

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Poppies at Fort Nelson. Picture: David George

Wave is part of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation – the original display at the Tower of London.

Designer Tom Piper said: ‘I was trying to get the metaphor of the poppies coalescing together to become a sea of blood flowing around the tower.

‘One part of that was a wave that for me was a bit like the young men going over the top of the trenches.

‘It’s both a commemoration and evocation of that moment.

Poppies at Fort Nelson. Picture: David George

‘I really like the fact that people can see it from lots of different angles and get right into the sculpture, as well as round the back of it.’

The project is being run by 14-18 NOW, which is taking the sculpture around the UK.

Jenny Waldman, director of 14-18 NOW says that the sculpture will provide an emotional experience for all visitors.

She said: ‘The sculpture really has that power and magnitude, but you can also see every one of those poppies and think about all of those individual soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War.

‘Bringing them here to Fort Nelson is really evocative because you can almost feel Kitchener’s army – and you can think about those men who gave up everything in the conflict.’

Wave and its sister sculpture Weeping Window contain 11,000 poppies.

Fort Nelson’s operations manager Nigel Hosier said: ‘For me, an exhibition like this brings me a great amount of pride.

‘The fort is a special place and the poppy sculpture is a special piece of art – so I think to have it here at the fort is wonderful.

‘The two go together beautifully and I think it is lovely for the area to have something as important as this, particularly in this final year of centenary celebrations.

‘People can come along and engage with the sculpture in different ways – people will reflect and have different reactions to it.’