To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, nearly 900,000 ceramic poppies are being planted in the Tower of London moat. ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ is an installation by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper and consists of 888,246 flowers (one for each British or Colonial military fatality). The last one will be planted on Remembrance Day, November 11, and they’re looking for volunteers to help.
Elsewhere, the centenary is being marked with a series of exhibitions this summer:
EMPIRE, FAITH AND WAR: THE SIKHS AND WORLD WAR I
The untold story of this valiant group within the British army is brought to life through film, folk songs and photographs. Also featured is a macabre contribution from Her Majesty’s Royal Collection, in the form of an eye-watering album of X-rays depicting Indian soldiers’ injuries. Brunei Gallery at Soas. Until Sep 28.
WAR ARTISTS AT SEA
Official wartime art has always had less to do with posterity than propaganda. This year-long exhibition in stunning seventeenth-century surroundings in Greenwich explores the role of artists such as John Everett in communicating a certain version of the truth of the Great War to a nervous and sometimes cynical public. The Queen’s House. Until Feb 2015.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM: LONDON’S GREAT WAR MEMORIALS
As the number of people who recall WWI first-hand dwindles, the role war memorials play as a focus for remembrance has never been more critical. This English Heritage exhibition looks at the history of six London memorials, including Whitehall’s Cenotaph. Wellington Arch. Until Nov 30.
FIRST WORLD WAR GALLERIES AT THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
Recently refurbished and reopened, this big-budget commemoration is mightily impressive, with 1,300 individual objects ranging from soldiers’ personal letters up to a Mark V tank. Visitors can also walk through a reconstruction of a British trench on the Western Front beneath a suspended Sopwith Camel fighter plane.
Find more museum exhibitions in London.