Record visitors flock to the Senedd for the Weeping Window poppies
Record numbers of visitors flocked to the Senedd this summer to see the iconic Weeping Window poppy sculpture.
More than 49,000 people came to see the work of artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, which is part of the UK-wide tour of the poppies organised by 14-18 NOW, the UK's arts programme for the First World War centenary.
The figure is more than three times higher than visitor numbers to the Senedd at the same time of year for the previous two years.
The sculpture was on display from August to September and is now moving on to the Ulster Museum in Belfast in the next stage of its tour.
The display formed part of Wales Remembers, the national programme of events marking the centenary of the First World War. The display of Weeping Window coincided with the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, which took the lives of many Welshmen, including the celebrated poet Hedd Wyn.
"Weeping Window has been a huge hit with record numbers of people visiting from all over Wales and beyond," said Elin Jones AM, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales.
"The Senedd is a stunning location and it has been wonderful to see so many people enjoy the sculpture and take time to reflect and consider its significance."
Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said:
"The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we are delighted to have worked with the National Assembly for Wales to present Weeping Window at the Senedd in Cardiff.
"We are so grateful to artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper for these two enormously powerful artworks of national significance that continue to inspire all who see them."
Weeping Window is one of two sculptures taken from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper.
The installation was originally at HM Tower of London in 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one for every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War. The installation was by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. Weeping Window is the cascade of poppies that was seen pouring out of a high window down to the grass below.
Alongside Weeping Window the National Assembly for Wales also hosted an exhibition titled Women, War and Peace. Renowned photojournalist Lee Karen Stow brought her world-famous exhibition to Wales, featuring the addition of specially commissioned portraits telling the story of Welsh women affected by war.
The tour of Wave and Weeping Window by 14-18 NOW gives people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of First World War resonance. Since the tour began in 2015, the sculptures have been seen by over 2.7 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.
Following Cardiff, Weeping Window will be at Ulster Museum in Belfast from 14 October to 3 December 2017. Wave will be on display at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial from 23 August to 19 November 2017.
Wave and Weeping Window have been saved for the nation by the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation. Financial support for the presentations has been received from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and fundraising for the presentations is ongoing.
DAF Trucks are the transport sponsor for the UK presentations, and 14-18 NOW are delighted to partner with DAF on making this historic project a reality. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation.