The iconic Poppies: Wave sculpture opened at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial on Wednesday 23 August. Specially presented by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions to mark the centenary of the First World War, Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper.

Poppies: Wave is free to view and open to the public daily until 19 November, with CWGC volunteers on hand from 10am to 6pm to tell the story of Wave, the Commission and CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial. This is the first time the sculpture has been fixed to a monument dedicated to remembering the war dead of the two world wars. A second sculpture, Weeping Window, is being exhibited at other venues across the UK.

Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks. A second sculpture, Weeping Window, will be exhibited at other venues across the UK. Weeping Window is a cascade comprising several thousand handmade ceramic poppies seen pouring from a high window to the ground below. These two sculptures, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, marking the centenary of the outbreak of war, are now brought to audiences at venues across the country by 14-18 NOW as part of the Poppies tour. As with all 14-18 NOW projects, the presentation of these sculptures to new audiences across the UK aims to prompt a new, nationwide dialogue around the legacy of the First World War.

The breathtaking sculptures were initially conceived as the key dramatic sculptural elements in the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in the autumn of 2014. Over the course of their time at the Tower, the two sculptures were gradually surrounded by a vast field of ceramic poppies, each one planted by a volunteer in memory of the life of a British and Colonial soldier lost during the First World War. In their original setting they captured the public imagination and were visited by more than five million people.

The original installation was conceived as transitory, the sea of poppies growing in size until the final one was planted on 11 November 2014. On completion, however, it was agreed that the works of art at the heart of this broader act of memorial should be preserved for the nation. 14-18 NOW is grateful to the Backstage Trust and Clore Duffield Foundation for their support in securing these sculptures for posterity. For the remainder of the 14-18 NOW programme, Wave and Weeping Window will be on view at selected locations around the United Kingdom. They will then be gifted to the Imperial War Museums.

Since the tour began in 2015, the sculptures have been seen by nearly two million people.

Announcing the installation, Victoria Wallace, CWGC Director General, said: "In bringing Wave to a Commonwealth War Graves site, so important to the local communities in Devon, and to the Royal Navy as a whole, we honour all war dead, and combine the force of a wonderful artwork with the body that has commemorated so many men and women for nearly a century. We hope people will visit, or see the images, and remember the sacrifice they made."

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said: “The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we are delighted to present Wave at the Plymouth Naval Memorial in 2017 as part of the ongoing tour. Artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper have created two enormously powerful artworks of national significance that continue to inspire all who see them.”

The Plymouth Naval Memorial was built and is maintained by the CWGC and commemorates almost 7,300 servicemen and women of the First World War and almost 16,000 of the Second World War.

Upcoming events

The CWGC and Plymouth City Council’s Arts and Heritage Service have put together a series of events and talks to take place during the Poppies: Wave sculpture's visit to the Commission's Plymouth Naval Memorial. 

The broad range of cultural and heritage events, coordinated and funded by the council and the Commission, will take place at the CWGC Plymouth Naval memorial and venues across Plymouth from 23 August to 19 November 2017.

The line-up includes family events, presentations, walks, tours, and school workshops.

All events are free of charge. Some events require booking. Please see booking information next to each event.

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The construction of Poppies: Wave at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial

Poppies: Wave opened at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial on Wednesday 23 August. Specially presented by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions to mark the centenary of the First World War, Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper.

CWGC and Plymouth City Council announce Poppies: Wave events programme

The CWGC and Plymouth City Council have put together a series of events and talks to take place during the Poppies: Wave sculpture's visit to their naval war memorial.

Poppies: Wave opens at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial

Artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper unveiled their incredible Poppies: Wave at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial – the first time the sculpture has been fixed to a monument dedicated to remembering the war dead of the two world wars.

Plymouth Naval Memorial: the history and design

Poppies: Wave will open at the CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial on Wednesday 23 August. Specially presented by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions to mark the centenary of the First World War, Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper.

14-18 NOW Poppies_Tower of London - Richard Lea-Hair and Historic Royal Palaces

Meet the people bringing Poppies: Wave to the CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial - Part 1

In the run up to the official opening of Poppies: Wave, brought to the CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial as part of the UK-wide tour by 14-18 NOW, the Commission will be introducing some of the people bringing the incredible structure to the city.

CWGC encourages communities to research, remember and share local stories

The CWGC is encouraging individuals, community groups, schools and organisations to take part in an exciting, new project and tell the stories of the servicemen and women who have no grave but the sea.

Frequently asked questions

What is Poppies: Wave?

Poppies: Wave is one of two sculptures from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper at the Tower of London in the summer and autumn of 2014. Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks; and Weeping Window is a cascade comprising several thousand handmade ceramic poppies seen pouring from a high window to the ground below.

The two sculptures are now being brought to audiences at venues across the country by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary as part of the Poppies tour.

What will I be able to see at the CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial?

CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial is one of two locations in 2017 where visitors will be able to see Poppies: Wave.

When and what time can I see Poppies: Wave at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial?

The sculpture is free to view all day, seven days a week from 23 August until 19 November 2017.

Volunteers will be at the memorial to greet visitors between 10am and 6pm daily.

For further information, please email community@cwgc.org.

Do I need to book in advance to see Poppies: Wave?

There is no need to book in advance to see Poppies: Wave at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial.

How close can I get to Poppies: Wave?

Visitors can get close-up views of Poppies: Wave at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial, with access allowing them to get within metres of the sculpture. However, visitors are asked not to touch the sculpture.

How accessible is Poppies: Wave?

Poppies: Wave at the CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial is easily accessible, meaning people with mobility issues can experience the sculpture. However, some parts of the memorial may be difficult to reach due to steps.

I would like to bring a group to see Poppies: Wave. How do I do this?

We welcome groups to come and see Poppies: Wave at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial. If you require assistance planning your visit, please email community@cwgc.org with more details about your group and when you would like to visit. There will also be a broad range of cultural and heritage events and talks, coordinated and funded by Plymouth City Council and the CWGC, at the memorial and across venues in Plymouth from August to November. We will confirm details on this website closer to the opening of Poppies: Wave at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial. To register your interest please email community@cwgc.org.

We are a school, are there any workshops planned for Poppies: Wave which our school can take part in?

We are developing a comprehensive and diverse learning and engagement programme for schools.

We will confirm details of our offer to schools on this website closer to the opening of Poppies: Wave at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial. To register your interest please email community@cwgc.org.

Am I allowed to take photos and film Poppies: Wave?

You are welcome to take photos and video for personal use and we would encourage you to share these on social media using the hashtag #PoppiesTour. Please note that any photos and video taken are for personal use only and may not be recreated or used for commercial purposes.

Media and Press

If you are a media outlet interested in photographing or filming Poppies: Wave at CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial, then please contact CWGC’s Press Office on 01628 507163 or 01628 507102 or you can email media@cwgc.org.

Will the poppies be for sale?

The two poppy sculptures that are being presented across the UK are from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red originally seen at the Tower of London.

They were bought for the nation by the Clore Duffield Foundation and the Backstage Trust (one of the Sainsbury's charities). The military charities benefited from the sale of these poppies in the same way as the poppies which were purchased by individuals. No new poppies are being made for the tour so there are no further poppies available to buy.

Is there a quiet space for reflection?

We have provided a space at the CWGC Information Centre next to the sculpture where you will be able to leave your written memories, and reflections of the sculpture and the First World War itself.

We would like to encourage visitors to share their memories or thoughts by using one of our memory cards which are available to complete.

How can I volunteer for Poppies: Wave?

We have had a great response to our call for Poppy volunteers, but we are looking for more.

Anyone wishing to sign up and be part of Poppies: Wave should email volunteers@cwgc.org.

You must be aged 18+ and be prepared to work outside. All training and a uniform will be given by CWGC.

For more information about becoming a volunteer, please see below.

Will there be refreshments available?

There are no catering facilities on site at the memorial, however there are a number of eateries, restaurants, cafes, and shops nearby on the Hoe.

Are there any public toilets, including disabled and baby changing facilities?

There are several public toilet facilities located nearby on the Hoe.

Where else can I see Poppies: Wave?

Wave and Weeping Window will be touring to selected locations around the UK until autumn 2018 after which they will be gifted to the Imperial War Museums.

Click here to find out where else you can see Wave and Weeping Window.

How can I find out more about Poppies: Wave?

You can find out more about Poppies: Wave and other arts events as part of the arts programme for the First World War centenary on the 14-18 NOW website.