Stunning poppies installation unveiled at St Magnus Cathedral

A stunning installation of ceramic poppies is on display at St Magnus Cathedral in Orkney. The Poppies: Weeping Window installation is made up of several thousand bright red flowers cascading down the west wall of the cathedral.

Poppies Poppies: Weeping Window, St Magnus Cathedral (2016) Image credit: Michael Bowles © Getty Images

Kirkwall is the first place in Scotland to host the 14-18 Now travelling exhibit, which grew out of the 2014 Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London, commemorating the loss of life in WW1. More than five million people visited the Tower of London to see the exhibit, made of 888,246 hand-made ceramic poppies, each one honouring the death of a member of the British and colonial armed forces during WW1.

St Magnus Cathedral will hold the official UK memorial service for the Battle of Jutland centenary on 31 May. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prime Minister David Cameron and numerous other dignitaries are expected to attend the event to honour the naval battle where 6,094 British and 2,551 German seamen lost their lives.

The installation was unveiled on Friday by the Convener of Orkney Council, Steven Heddle.

Rev G Fraser Macnaughton

Rev G Fraser Macnaughton said local people and visitors are flocking to the cathedral to view the massive artwork.

"It is absolutely stunning ," he said. "The colours change depending on the time of day, whether it is sunny or cloudy, and whether you are far away or close up. You can't imagine how it looks until you actually see it. It is really remarkable.

"The two reds–the red of the poppies and the red of the sandstone–really complement each other. For St Magnus to have such a beautiful and poignant installation as the poppies really sets it off.

"St Magnus is very much at the heart of all the commemorations that Orkney is hosting for the WW1 centenary. It is the centrepiece of Orkney civic life as anyone can tell you. So we are really pleased and delighted."

Artist Paul Cummins and installation designer Tom Piper Artist Paul Cummins and installation designer Tom Piper after installing Poppies: Weeping Window, St Magnus Cathedral (2016) Image credit: Michael Bowles © Getty Images

Artist Paul Cummins and installation designer Tom Piper created the Weeping Window display, which will travel next to the Black Watch Museum in Perth, where it will be on view from 29 June to 25 September 2016.

Councillor Jim Foubister

Councillor Jim Foubister, vice convener of Orkney Islands Council spoke to the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, saying:

"It is fitting that Orkney will host the national commemoration and that this will draw to a close at Lyness among the graves of some of the many thousands of sailors who lost their lives at Jutland.

"Over the months ahead, children in our schools will look at many aspects of the war, at Orkney's role and the contributions of our forbearers. In this way we can help ensure that those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their countries are never forgotten."

More than 17 million military personnel and civilians were killed during WW1.

Follow the progress of the commemoration on the St Magnus Cathedral Facebook page.

Visit St Magnus Cathedral's website.

Visit the 14-18 Now website to learn more about the WW1 commemoration exhibits.