In the short term, our mission is simple: to raise the funds necessary to conserve Pilgrim’s Progress by removing it from the crypt of St Elisabeth’s Church before the building is demolished at the end of 2019.
The conservation of the mural will take place in three stages: first a stabilisation phase, which will arrest the damage caused by damp and age; secondly, its careful removal from the crypt walls using the strappo method; and thirdly, specialist conservation work to repair existing damage and render the mural on to panels so that it can be installed in a new home. The third phase of work can continue after the demolition of the building, if necessary.
The money that we raise will be used to pay for this work and the ancillary expenses of running the fundraising and restoration project, focusing firstly on stabilising the whole mural, and then on removing it. If we cannot raise enough money to remove all of the mural, we will prioritise key areas of it, taking advice from relevant experts in art history and conservation. Once the mural or the chosen key areas have been removed from the church, we will direct the money we have raised to completing the conservation and panellisation work.
Our long-term mission is to return the mural to public view, ideally in a permanent home, although we may also arrange for it to be exhibited temporarily in other locations, either because a request is made by an institution to borrow it for that purpose or because its permanent home is not yet available.
Our goal is to find or build suitable gallery premises where Pilgrim’s Progress can be on permanent display, enjoyed as a world-class work of art, respected as a war and Holocaust memorial, and appreciated by art historians, students and the general public. We hope that the proposed gallery will additionally offer a commitment to local arts and the wider community via the gallery programme and the provision of events, project space, courses and classes, participation in local and regional events and festivals, and the nurturing of links to other cultural organisations.
Our hope is that Pilgrim’s Progress will remain on the Sussex coast and we are particularly committed to continuing the social legacy of St Elisabeth’s by situating it in a community where the arts economy is currently underdeveloped.