I'll have a cappu-fresco-cino: Shop owner has Sistine Chapel ceiling recreated on side of his cafe

Artist used technique dating back to ancient Greece for plastering and painting the wall

A coffee shop owner has spent £30,000 recreating the iconic ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - on the side of his cafe in Bedford.

Kevin Kavanagh has created a 115 sq ft fresco of the famous ‘Libyan Sibyl’ which was hand-painted at The Vatican by Michelangelo in the 16th Century.

The cafe owner commissioned artist Iain Carstairs, who used a technique dating back to ancient Greece for plastering and then painting the brick wall.

Bianca L'erario (left) and Casey Bright admire the art work Picture: Masons


His breathtaking fresco now takes pride of place on the side of Kevin's 'Frescoes café' in the middle of Bedford.

It has also inspired a spike in demand for cappuccinos, with local coffee drinkers enjoying the new Italian feel of the street.

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Kevin Kavanagh said: "It’s shockingly good, we’re so pleased."

Ian said: "It’s so pleasing to see and it’s prettier than I thought.

"The most exciting thing is looking out of the window and seeing people’s reaction to it. They seen to connect and react to it."

The Libyan Sibyl is one of the 12 prophetic figures from the roof of the Sistine Chapel and depicts the priestess Phemonone presiding over the Zeus Ammon Oracle.

Ian took two months to complete the stunning mural, which he painted from scaffolding surrounding the cafe.

He worked with plasterer Jim Smith to smooth the rough brick wall so he could achieve the quality finish needed to do justice to the fine detail of the masterpiece.

The image was put on show to the public for the first time before Christmas when the scaffolding was finally taken down.

The cost of the wall rocketed to £30,000 as Iain and Kevin worked for three months creating the fresco.

But cafe owner Kevin said he hoped to recoup some of the costs through donations from residents benefiting from the new installation in his hometown.

The 58-year-old said: "It is my way of adding to the culture of the town and both me and Iain wanted something that was historic.

"We have been able to bring a bit of Italian history to Bedford and I hope that it will be there for well over a thousand years."

It appears that the public are equally enthusiastic about the replica which is almost the exact same size as the original that adorns the roof of the Sistine Chapel.

Kevin, whose son studied art at Nottingham University, added: "Wonderful is a word that has been coming up. To date there has been no negative comments.

"I want it to be a landmark of Bedford and I want generations of people to be able to come and visit it."

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