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Art angel gives Chichester Cathedral’s copper roof new lease of life

Student Helen Solly and University Chaplain Rev Dr Alison Green next to the angel sculpture


AN ANGEL made from the iconic copper roof atop Chichester Cathedral has been put on display in the city for Christmas.

The sculpture, which stands at six-feet tall, was created by University of Chichester art student Helen Solly (above left) as part of her second-year assessment. The metal for the angel, which is currently on display in the University Chapel, was donated by the Cathedral as part of its ongoing roof renovations.

Undergraduate Helen, who is studying on the BA (Hons) Fine Art degree, said: “The colours of the copper are beautiful, and the sculpture’s rough edges reflect the material from the weathered roof.

“I’ve called it ‘Cu on the other side’ to signify its relationship with heaven. It’s also a reference to the periodic symbol for copper and draws attention to the unexposed golden-brown side of the metal that the public have never seen.”

The copper used for the artwork dates back to a period after the Second World War when the metal was used to re-cover the Cathedral roof given the unavailability of the traditional lead, which is less prone to crack and lifting by coastal winds.

Undergraduate Helen used copper from Chichester Cathedral's iconic green roof to make the angel

Speaking of the sculpture, Cathedral spokesperson Ruth Poyner said: “It is wonderful to see our green copper roof given a new life. The copper can no longer protect this sacred space from the elements but we shall hope that this angel continues to offer shelter and warmth to those in need.”

Mother of four Helen, who lives in Chichester, specialises in using raw and recycled materials that have been locally sourced to fashion unique artwork. She developed the design for the angel as part of a University assessment which emphasised the use of symbolism in imagery.

University Chaplain Revd Dr Alison Green (above) said: “It’s a wonderful piece of art that reflects our close relationship with the Chichester Cathedral. I have a fantasy of the angel flying from the Cathedral roof and landing here at the University for Christmas.”

The angel will be displayed in the University Chapel until Candlemas, in early February, and can be viewed once the institution has reopened on Wednesday 2 January. Helen intends to auction off her artwork in 2019 and donate any money raised to the Cathedral roof renovation project.

To view the angel sculpture visit the University of Chichester Chapel at its Bishop Otter campus, College Lane, Chichester, PO19 6PE. For more about the Chichester Cathedral roof renovation project visit