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  © Copyright  Romanygenes 2007--2020 Design and Web Layout  © 2007-2020 S.J.Day All Rights Reserved


Copyright RomanyGenes 2007-2020 Design and Web Layout S.J.Day All Rights Reserved

SVEN BERLIN(1911-(1999)Sculptor Painter & Author


Sculptor, painter and writer, Sven Berlin was a controversial figure among the artists of St Ives in the 1940s and 1950s, who went

 onto build a totally new career in and around the New Forest. In 1953,  he travelled with his second wife Juanita to the New Forest  through Wiltshire and Dorset and arrived as Sven describe's in his book "Dromengro Man of the Road" at the green gates of the

"City of Shave Green"  Sven captured the West Country and dialect perfectly together with swear words cusses and curses ,

they are all included just as they were spoken by old Benny Wells and his mum Prissy , Parno Smith and the Cooper family nothing

is left out! Which I think is wonderfull as it reflect's true life and is a true reflection of our past, and the character's that enriched our



Sven without knowing it captured a part of History ,as did his contemporary, Dominic Reeve , who visited Sven in the Forest with

little Marky, and was just starting his literary career.

Both authors captured for History the last Forest Romanies to have lived and ave their base in the Forest before being evicted by the Authorities. He captured an important part of our History and has brought to life the old folki and families with their times of happiness and of sadness too.He was a wonderfull painter and sculptor and captured many of the Forest Gypsie's on canvas and has had over 40 one man exhibitions all over the country including one in 1956 at the Bladon Gallery near Andover, which many of the local Forest Gypsies attended along with Augustsus John another friend of the Gypsie's. After his death these paintings were shown again in Lymington at St. Barbe's Museum and Gallery in 2003.


I was fortunate enough to speak to Sven's widow Julia Berlin recently and she has kindly given me permission to use some of

Sven's drawing's for this site and also a small book I am writing about the Forest Gypsie's and other local Dorset and Wilshire Traveller's. While we were chatting about the various folk in the Forest ,I asked Julia Berlin if she knew of the painting of  

Lavinia "Luvvie" Cooper, as I believed Augustus John bought it  "Luvvie" seemed to be very fondly thought of by both Sven and Augustus and by all who knew her,she told me she believed it now hangs in a Portugese Museum! It would be nice to find it. Below

are Sven Berlin's books and  his line drawing of Benny Wells who Sven had met years earlier at Stonehenge in Salisbury, and

later in the Forest .

With kind permission from Julia Berlin. 

                                     Sven Berlin (Books are published by Finishing Publications Ltd)




















                                                                                                                                                                       SVEN BERLIN

SVEN BERLIN VIRGO IN EXILE BOOK DROMENGRO BOOK BY SVEN BERLIN BENNY WELLS LINE DRAWING BY SVEN BERLIN 4516907144_153x219.jpg 4516907145_148x217.jpg 4517179355.jpg 4517179357_281x198.jpg Scan20024 LUVVIE COOPER prissy wells r



Pictured left is "Luvvie Cooper" and on the right "Priscilla Wells" both mentioned in the above poem by Sven Berlin


41397_786620356_9117_nmum and dad



Priscilla Green was born on the 27th November 1874 at Horton Heath near Wimborne in Dorset the daughter of George Green a Chair Bottomer and Eliza formerly Wilkins her birth was registered on the 15th December 1874. She was baptised on the 10th January 1875 in the Parish of Horton it is interesting to note that the previous entry in the Parish Register 0n the 5th January was the baptism of Caroline Wells who was to become her sister in law.


Priscilla married Benjamin Wells the son of William Wells and Eliza on the 29th September 1890 at The Parish Church, Boldre, Hampshire.

Priscilla was made famous in a portrait painted in oil by Sven Berlin who also did a pencil drawing of her husband Benny Wells, The couple were known to have lived at Shave Green and I am fairly certain that it is Priscilla in the Britishpathe film made in 1948:


NEW FOREST GYPSIES - 1948, British Pathe

Priscilla died at Shave Green, Bartley, Hampshire on the 1st of February 1957, she survived her husband by 33 years and she was buried at St Mary’s Church, Copythorne, Hampshire.

A Family member has kindly sent me this lovely picture of their father Leonard Wells  from Shave Green son of Priscilla, and his wife Caroline Wells nee Jones who was a flower seller in Southampton