Brighton Dome refurbishment sees statue restored to former glory

An Art Deco statue has been restored to its former glory as part of Brighton Dome’s building refurbishment.

The figure of Ceres, the Roman Goddess of Agriculture, above the entrance to the Corn Exchange, on Church Street, has been regilded.

Sarah Mayfield carries out restoration work on the Ceres statue. Photograph: Brighton Dome

Sarah Mayfield carries out restoration work on the Ceres statue. Photograph: Brighton Dome

Conservator Sarah Mayfield began specialist restoration work on the statue and the frieze behind it in March and all work is expected to be complete in the next few weeks.

Sarah said: “Ceres has required some careful surface repairs due to the original gilding being worn away by years of excess weather and cleaning.

“I’ve used gold leaf which is applied very carefully to the surface of the statue, bringing her back to how she would have originally looked in 1930s.”

The statue was sculpted by artist James Woodford OBE RA (1893 to 1976) in 1935 and it is one of several heritage features being restored as part of the refurbishment of the 200-year-old Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council and with support from the American Express Foundation.

Sarah Mayfield carries out restoration work on the Ceres statue. Photograph: Brighton Dome

Sarah Mayfield carries out restoration work on the Ceres statue. Photograph: Brighton Dome

Chief executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival Andrew Comben said: “Seeing Ceres restored to her former glory is a significant moment in the project.

“She not only symbolises the renewal of the seasons but also represents a new era for the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre as we work towards a new vision for supporting artists and programming arts in the venues.”

The works are the first phase of a wider project hoping to re-affirm Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate as a key cultural destination.

The project will also provide increased seating, a new viewing gallery and a creative space for artists. Improvements to the Studio Theatre will include balcony seating, new bar facilities and a street-level café.

For a video of Sarah working on the statue, see the top of the page. Video courtesy of Sarah Mayfield.