Poppy Artist Paul Cummins Returns with Enormous Tulip Installation

Poppy artist Paul Cummins is back, and this time he is presenting a large-scale sculpture made with… tulips.

The British artist caused a veritable media and audience frenzy earlier this past year with his Remembrance Day installation, which featured a whopping 888,246 ceramic poppies scattered over the grounds of the Tower of London (see Thousands of Ceramic Poppies Commemorate WWI in London and Kate Middleton Visits WWI Poppy Art Installation).

Cummins is now presenting his first major project since his poppy sensation, and it also features flowers. His new piece is a 30 feet-tall column covered with 2,300 ceramic tulips hand-painted in red, black, white, and blue.

Cummins told the BBC the work was inspired by the 17th century “tulip mania,” a period in the Dutch Golden Age when demand for tulips, then a novelty in the market, was so high that it created a speculative bubble.

Close-up of Paul Cummins’s tulip tower<br>Photo: @JaneOddy1 via Twitter

Close-up of Paul Cummins’s tulip tower
Photo: @JaneOddy1 via Twitter

The installation has been unveiled in the most fitting context: London’s Chelsea Flower Show, the biggest flower trade show in the UK, gathering 550 exhibitors and over 160,000 visitors per year, willing to pay over £100 to see epic flower and garden designs, and maybe buy some plants while at it.

Cummins’s tulips will be for sale too, for an affordable £35 a pop, of which £10 will go to a still undisclosed charity.

The precaution taken regarding the destination of the proceeds is understandable. In February, Cummins received death threats when it was revealed that a part of the £10 million raised by selling the poppies would go to armed forces charities (see Tower of London Poppy Artist Threatened With Death).

2014 08 07 paul cummins poppies royals 04

Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry visit Paul Cummins’s poppy installation this past year
Photo: PA


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