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Finding Alice

This is a rare painting of Julia Berlin's mother Alice, and as far as we know the only one! It was very dirty when rescued from the recent studio sale and is now back from the restorers looking bright and full of indomitable character! A quick photo before it goes off to the framers...

Julia Berlin's mother, Alice Lenthall
Alice in a White Hat | Sven Berlin. Alice Lenthall, Julia Berlin's mother, New Forest, 1965

In my biography of Sven, Timeless Man there is an account of how Alice came into Sven's life on the occasion of his first meeting with the young Julia.

Harry was Julia's father, kennel huntsman for the New Forest foxhounds:

" They talked easily, Alice keeping a watchful eye on her young daughter, while Harry entertained the pub clientele by blowing his huntsman’s horn. Several brandies later and a variety of subjects covered, including Egyptian and Chinese culture, Sven left very drunk and recorded that he fell into the rose bushes outside the cottage on his way home. With Sven struggling to keep the house and family in order, Julia persuaded her mother Alice to help. Alice, who had been in service as a kitchen maid in Scotland and a lady’s maid in London, was more than qualified to bring order to the chaos. Either Sven or Paul (his son) would collect her and she’d happily cook their meals, make cakes and clean the house."

Another delightful account is that of a New Year's Eve celebration when Alice was encouraged to demonstrate a Highland Fling in the sitting room of Merlin Cottage on the Isle of Wight!


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