About Paul Cummins

Headshot of Paul Cummins

“I believe that art should be accessible to everyone” – Paul Cummins MBE

Drawing inspiration from both the natural world and his background in architecture Paul specialises in ceramics and metalwork.

Paul’s work is informed by a detailed understanding for aesthetic form and holds a commanding visual authority. When combined with the raw presence of steel and wire, his exuberant yet delicate ceramic flowers painted in vibrant glazes, deliver arresting results.

Paul is the man responsible for the large-scale installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, which was made up of 888,246 handmade red ceramic poppies, one to represent every life lost at the Front during the First World War, at the Tower of London in 2014. This enormous artistic project was something that had never been seen before and was embraced by millions from across the globe.

Two key sculptural elements from ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, Weeping Window and Wave, were preserved for the nation and then taken on tour across the UK by 1418-NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War Centenary. From Orkney to Yorkshire, Plymouth to Cardiff, Belfast to London and Manchester to Derby, the two sculptures were seen by over 4.5 million people at 19 locations from 2015 to November 2018. The sculptures became part of the IWM collections from November 2018.

Over the course of his career to date, Paul has also created installations for a number of prestigious venues and clientele, including works at the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth House, the Derby Royal Hospital, Althorp Estate, Blenheim Palace, The Conran Shop, and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

Installations

April – September: Private Commission

Derby Royal Hospital

A series of hand thrown sgrafitto bowls on poles, temporary exhibition.

April – May: Floralia

Chatsworth House

As part of the annual event, Florabundance Paul created ceramic tulips to adorn the garden.

July – August: Mixed Exhibition

Tregoning Contemporary

A mixed exhibition at the Tregoning Contemporary Summer Show.

August: Roses

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

A preview exhibition showing Paul’s display of 60 handmade roses.

September 2011: Private Commission

Origin Contemporary Craft Fair

Spitalfield Market Installation of 200 ceramic bowls.

English Country Garden, Unlimited

London Cultural Olympiad 2012

Paul’s quintessentially English flower garden was made up of 48,000 ceramic flowers in various forms. All the flowers Paul created for this installation were based on flowers native to the UK, and then displayed at great British locations, including:

    • 25th April – 27th May: Chiswick House

      Bowl-shaped meadow flowers

    • 11th May – 1st September: The Secret Gardens of Sandwich

      Roses

    • 1st June – 17th September: Blenheim Palace

      Rod mounted Delphinium spears

    • 4th June – 26th August: Houses of Parliament

      Roses and tulips on rods

    • 1st July – 31st August: Castle Howard

      Roses

    • 1st July – 31st August 2012: Althorp Estate

      Sweet Peas

    • 31st August – 9th September 2012: Southbank Centre

      Painted bowls on rods

June – November: HRP Tower of London

888,246 poppies were gradually displayed in the moat around the Tower of London, one for every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War.

‘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.

May: Candy

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015

Paul unveiled ‘Candy’, an eight-metre high copper sculpture covered in hand-painted black, white and coloured variegated ceramic tulips, to the public and Her Majesty The Queen.

 

2015: Wave and Weeping Window

Two key sculptural elements from ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, Wave and Weeping Window were purchased and gifted for the nation, embarking on a four-year tour by 14-18 NOW across the UK for audiences to see the sculptures re-imagined in new locations.

2015

    • 5th September – 10th January 2016: Wave

      Yorkshire Sculpture Park

    • 12th September – 1st November: Weeping Window

      Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland

    • 7th November 2015 – 17th January 2016: Weeping Window

      St George’s Hall, Liverpool

Tour of Wave and Weeping Window, Cont.

2016

    • 22nd April – 12th June: Weeping Window

      St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

    • 28th May – 4th September: Wave

      Lincoln Castle

    • 30th June – 25th September: Weeping Window

      The Black Watch Museum, Perth

    • 12th October – 20th November: Weeping Window

      Caernarfon Castle

Tour of Wave and Weeping Window, cont.

2017

    • 25th March – 14th May: Weeping Window

      Maritime Museum, Hull

    • 12th April – 25th June: Wave

      The Barge Pier, Shoeburyness

    • 9th June – 23rd July: Weeping Window

      The Silk Mill, Derby

    • 8th August – 24th September: Weeping Window

      Y Senedd, The National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff

    • 23rd August – 19th November: Wave

      CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial

    • 14th October – 3rd December 2017: Weeping Window

      Ulster Museum, Belfast

Awards

May: University of Derby Spotlight Degree Show

December: MBE for services to Art and Commemoration, awarded by the HRH The Duke of Cambridge

Hudson Heritage Special Award for ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’

Museum and Heritage Award for ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’

Awarded Key to the City of Derby

London First ‘Contribution to London’s Cultural Excellence’ Award for ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’

Honorary Master of the Arts from the University of Derby

Awarded Visiting Director of the Arts, University of Derby

Pro-tem Special Award for ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Civic Trust Awards

Tourism Society Award 2015 for ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’

Colour Moment of the Year for ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Dulux Let’s Colour Awards

South Bank Sky Arts Award for Visual Art for ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’

2014 Derby Civic Award

Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy by London Metropolitan University

Hero Award at the Help for Heroes Awards for ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’

Best British Cultural & Creative Innovation Award for ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Walpole British Luxury Awards