I’m not the most artistic of fellows. I like art, but most of the understanding and appreciation that truly defines an “art lover” is sadly absent in me. However, that is not to say that I cannot appreciate (or recognize) beauty when I see it.
Artist Paul Cummins was commissioned to create a work reminding the nation of Britain (and her former colonies) of the men who died in service to their cause during WWI. Altogether the British Empire lost almost 1million soldiers to what is remembered as one of the most gruesome and destructive wars ever fought by men. We applaud Mr. Cummins for creating a memorial that while at once is beautiful is also full of pain and heartbreak.
I’m not ashamed to say that this beautiful work of public art is one of the most moving tributes I’ve ever seen. I’m sure the nation of Britain is proud of the work done by Cummins and his volunteers.
How did Cummins come up with the idea for the commemoration?
The poppies are being created by the ceramic artist Paul Cummins, inspired by a line in the will of a Derbyshire man who joined up in the earliest days of the war and died in Flanders.
“I don’t know his name or where he was buried or anything about him,” Cummins, who found the will among old records in Chesterfield, said. “But this line he wrote, when everyone he knew was dead and everywhere around him was covered in blood, jumped out at me: ‘The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.’ I believe he meant the angels to refer to his children.”
Soldiers were encouraged to make simple wills, stored in their pocket books – often with moving last letters to their families – so they could be retrieved with their bodies if the worst happened.