Iconic poppy sculpture opens at Black Watch Museum

Weeping Window poppy sculpture at the Black Watch Castle and Museum . Photo: Lisa Ferguson.
Weeping Window poppy sculpture at the Black Watch Castle and Museum . Photo: Lisa Ferguson.

A cascade of poppies is set to flow from the Black Watch Castle and Museum today (June 30)

The iconic sculpture Weeping Window, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, opens at venue which is the first location in mainland Scotland to host the sculpture as part of the UK-wide tour of the poppies by 14-18 NOW, the arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Photo: Lisa Ferguson

Photo: Lisa Ferguson

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 – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.

The Black Watch Museum is now a focal point for remembrance and learning about the First World War. The Weeping Window sculpture flows from the Castle’s second floor turret window onto the ground below.

The Museum tells the story of The Black Watch, with many recruits coming from Fife and Angus as well as Perth & Kinross and Dundee.

The regiment fought with distinction during the First World War, allegedly earning them the nickname “The Ladies from Hell” from German soldiers. By the end of the First World War, nearly 9000 soldiers of The Black Watch were killed and almost 20,000 wounded.

Sir Alastair Irwin KCB CBE, chairman, The Black Watch Castle and Museum, said: “The Black Watch is honoured and proud that its home and Museum has been chosen for the first display of Poppies: Weeping Window on the Scottish mainland. The people of Perth have always been great supporters of their local regiment whether in times of peace or of conflict. Many of their sons were amongst the nearly 9,000 Black Watch men who gave their lives in the Great War. We know that, here in the heart of Scotland, the sculpture will be a powerful homage not only to them and their families but to all other Scots who fought or who waited anxiously at home during the course of that “war to end all wars”. The Black Watch extends a warm welcome to our home in Balhousie Castle, which, during the duration of the display, will be a home to all.”

Nigel Hinds, executive producer, 14-18 NOW, added: “Telling the story of Scotland’s premier Highland regiment, The Black Watch Castle and Museum is a poignant and fitting place for the poppy sculpture Weeping Window to be presented as part of its tour of the UK. The poppies have an incredible ability to bring generations together to share stories of the First World War. I am hugely grateful to the government and all our supporters, in particular the Backstage Trust, and our transport sponsors DAF Trucks, for enabling this landmark presentation to happen.”

The two poppy sculptures, Wave and Weeping Window, which together have over 11,000 poppies, have been saved for the nation by the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation, and gifted to 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums.

14-18 NOW are delighted to partner with transport sponsor DAF Trucks on making this historic project a reality. Financial support for the tour of the poppies has been received from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation.

14-18 NOW has commissioned a number of major projects across Scotland in 2016 to mark the Battle of Jutland and the Battle of the Somme. Turner Prize-nominated artist Ciara Phillips’ Dazzle Ship is currently on display in the historic port of Leith as part of the 2016 Edinburgh Art Festival, and award-winning composer David Lang will premiere his choral piece Memorial Ground with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus at the East Neuk Festival on Saturday, July 2.

Weeping Window will be presented by The Black Watch Museum until September 25.

For details of the full programme visit https://www.1418now.org.uk.