Royal Derby Hospital volunteers tidy up the courtyard

On a beautiful sunny afternoon in June, the Derby project company donned their gardening gloves and set out to one of the 45 courtyards at the Royal Derby Hospital to remove a flower sculpture display by Paul Cummins.

Paul Cummins is a local artist, who was commissioned to create a Wildflower garden for the hospital’s 2010 ‘Inspired’ exhibition. The exhibition was inspired by nature and science and Paul created 100 unique ceramic flowers for his installation – his first ever large scale work. Paul subsequently went on to create the famous ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ installation of over 880,000 poppies for the Tower of London in 2014 and is now an internationally known artist.

The piece was well received at the time and many people enjoyed viewing the flowers for the first few years, but then nature took over and the shrubs grew to cover and damage the installation as they pushed the ceramic flowers off the fixings. Eventually only a handful of the flowers were visible so the decision was taken to remove the installation to prevent further damage and to enable it to go to a new home where it would be seen and appreciated.

It took several hours to find all of the flowers which had been gradually buried by over enthusiastic shrubs over the past 8 years, but we persevered and eventually were rewarded with finding 93 intact flowers and only 6 broken ones. The 100th flower remains elusive even after several extra visits to find it!

We then hand washed and carefully dried each piece, sorted them into sizes, photographed them, bubble wrapped and packed them all into crates.

We then enjoyed a well-deserved trip to the local hostelry to finish off a great afternoon’s work.

The plan is to auction the installation to raise money for more arts projects including willow artwork for courtyards and woodland crafts for patients at bedside.

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