FROM THE ARCHIVES – One man’s dream for a church roof -The Universe, 1990


Today’s ‘from the archives’ newspaper report comes from ‘The Universe’ on Sunday October 28th 1990. This article reported upon the painting of ‘The Sistine Chapel Reproduction’ which was half way across the ceiling of English Martyrs Catholic Church in Goring, Worthing, West Sussex, England.

Here is the report in full:

One man’s dream for a church roof.

THERE is something of a modern day miracle unfolding in a little church buried deep in the heart of Sussex. In the English Martyrs Catholic Church in Goring, near Worthing, a local signwriter is recreating the frescos painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. And the work of Gary Bevans is stunningly close to the original: the nine great themes of Michelangelo, from the Creation, through the Fall of Man and the Sinfulness of Man leading up to The Redemption, a labour of love he has been engaged upon for more than two years, with another two to go.

Michelangelo used oils – 36-year-old Gary, married to Theresa, (they have two children, Emily, aged 14, and Bernadette, 10), applies his art with water based acrylic paint. But why? What inspired him to give up his own time, for nothing, to such a task?

It came to him after seeing the Sistine Chapel and returning home. “I was looking at the church here,” he told me, as he clambered from his 30ft scaffolding, “and saw that the actual shape and size of the building here is virtually of the same proportions; then I began to think about it seriously…it took about three or four weeks after that to make a scale drawing to fit because although the vault of the ceiling is the same (44ft) it is not quite as long.”

And then, after getting permission of the bishop and the priest, Fr Enda Naughton, he started. He paints on 6mm plywood panels because the ceiling is not good enough to brush on direct – and hit upon the idea of parishioners sponsoring each panel at £50 a time to pay for the materials. Gary said: “I have a great devotion to God, to my Faith, and it is something I wanted to give back to God. I regard this ability to paint as a gift from God.”

“My wife is very supportive. Without her letting me come up here all these hours it would have been impossible.”

 For more information about the Sistine Chapel Ceiling Reproduction, for art cards, prints and original artwork by the artist, Gary Bevans, visit:

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