The Santa Barbara Courthouse has hired a sculptor to replicate the building’s historic fountain structure.
The current Spirit of the Ocean fountain was built in 1927 by Ettore Cadorin and depicts two nude figures representing Santa Barbara’s temperate climate and proximity to the ocean. In order to replicate the original piece as accurately as possible, English sculptor Nick Blantern will use a similar medium — a large boulder currently residing on La Patera Ranch in Goleta.
According to Len Tindell of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Blantern’s fountain will take about a year to complete.
“It’s being reproduced in the same sort of sandstone that it was made out of originally with the 21-ton boulder that was found,” Tindell said.” “It will be hauled [to the courthouse] and put on the lawn close to the original.”
Blantern — who was hired after a three-year search on the part of the courthouse — said the project will begin in a studio with a foam-mold replica of the Spirit of the Ocean, and will eventually be moved to the front of the courthouse and completed on site.
The Santa Barbara Courthouse staff hopes the statue will catch the attention of the community and that the public sculpting will educate locals about the importance of art and culture.
“The court foundation wants us to move the rocks and finish the carving there,” Blantern said. “They want to educate the public on how things are done. The courthouse is big on showing the public.”
Blantern has worked on numerous Montecito estates and recently completed a two-and-a-half year project as the lead stone carving manager for Ty Warner’s new home. He also worked on the restoration project of San Francisco City Hall after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
The sculptor said he has always had an affinity for the courthouse sculpture.
“I lived in Santa Barbara when I first moved to the U.S. in 1994 and [the Spirit of the Ocean] piece just caught my eye. It is a beautiful piece,” Blantern said. “It’s kind of funny how things work. It’s always interested me. It’s a soft spot on my heart in Santa Barbara. It’s a wonderful project to be given to me to do.”
While there is no set date for the public sculpting, Blantern said that there will be news updates to keep the public informed about the fountain’s progress.