Going to the zoo..oo...oo

Zoos were a great source of inspiration for Sven Berlin. I was reminded of this when we were visited by a resident of Emery Down who as a child was intrigued by the zoo Sven and Juanita set up at Home Farm, something of a shock to the local residents. Our visitor distinctly recalled Juanita riding the lanes astride one of her zebras!

In February 1965 Sven wrote to his friend John Paddy Browne of the difficulties of drawing the more exotic creatures for his publisher Anthony Dent’s book Animals that changed the World, in particular the elephants “to try to get their elephantness" and the Bactrian camel. He was off to London Zoo to draw them from life having happily completed “all the familiar animals which I know and love and have kept and drawn and carved and cast…". Judge for yourself whether he captured them!


Sven had in fact kept some remarkable creatures of his own, including a Vietnamese pig, llamas, a toucan, a skunk, a Barbary ram - along with Juanita’s three zebras and her appaloosas and their colourful macaws. You can read all about the zoo in our biography of Sven, Timeless Man