Poppies at the Tower of London

©2015 - Cathy Read - Tower Poppies - Watercolour and Acrylic - 102 x 81cm - £1500

The Poppies at the Tower captured public imagination.

Some artworks have that power. In case you’ve been living on another planet or in a bubble somewhere I’ll share the story again.

To mark 100 years since the start of World War 1 several events were put on in 2014 to commemorate the event.

One of these was to create ceramic poppies and install them in the moat of the Tower of London.

Poppies have long been used to remember those fallen in conflict. Partly because they are blood red but also because they tend to grow in areas where the ground has recently been disturbed, like a battlefield.

©2015 - Cathy Read - Tower Poppies - Watercolour and Acrylic - 102 x 81cm
©2015 – Cathy Read – Tower Poppies – Watercolour and Acrylic on canvas – 102 x 81cm

When they grow after a battle it is a reminder of those whose blood was shed. Thanks to John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Field they are synonymous with Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. And now, Thanks to Paul Cummins and Tom Piper,  The Tower as well.
Like many artists the symbolism is not lost on me and the timing seemed perfect to create a painting based on a view that included Tower Bridge.

There’s an irony too.

The Tower of London was once witness to many acts of war and acts of brutality that had nothing to do with was and everything to do with the sovereign’s desire to control the people.

We may think we live in more enlightened times and use civilised ways to resolve disputes but one does not have to look far to see ample evidence of peoples who are still living in brutal and barbaric times.

Conflict is not resolved by arming ourselves and retaliating. That just escalates the situation, however justified the fight may be. The only solution is by dialogue to find truth and reconcilliation between parties. Then by establishing fair and equal forms of government to ensure the needs of all and being met.

Which is why Memorials like the Poppies at the Tower of London are taken to heart.

It’s important to remember how easily things can escalate and find ways to create lasting peace.

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