Iconic Lion

Perhaps the most iconic photograph of Sven Berlin is that taken by Murray Hardy in 1946 of the bare-chested sculptor carving his Portland stone lion outside his studio, The Tower, in St. Ives, Cornwall.


Sven Berlin carving The Lion outside The Tower in St. Ives. Photo: Murray Hardy
Sven Berlin carving The Lion outside The Tower in St. Ives in 1946. Photo Murray Hardy.

Originally intended for The Red Lion pub in Columb St. Major, the story of the carving is an entertaining one, particularly as the finished piece was far heavier than originally anticipated. The original piece of stone had been addressed mistakenly to Mr Irving Berlin and would result in a carving weighing some 10cwt! Not easily suspended from a pub sign…


In fact, thanks to the impossible task of placing the carving outside The Red Lion which is in a narrow street, it was finally settled on a bank outside another more rural St. Austell Brewery pub where it remains to this day.


Here it is pictured in 1992, 2008 and 2016. Also from the files in the collection, one of the original drawings by Sven which he submitted to the Brewery…