Sheila Hawkins is recognised for her contribution to children’s literature, particularly as an illustrator, and her strong sense of design and layout is evident in her painting. Gyspy Mother embodies an atmosphere of calm, despite the tangle of limbs and foreboding clouds, in a tightly controlled and complimentary colour palette. The monumental maternal figure is a picture of stability and dependence against the writhing child, her vertical presence contrasted against the limbs, rolling hills and clouds.
Largely self-taught, Hawkins moved to England in the early 1930s and travels in Spain inspired her first illustrated story, Pepito (1938), as well as a series of paintings depicting Catalan market scenes. Gypsy Mother was included in her 1939 exhibition at Goupil Gallery, London.
A photograph in the collection of The Australian War Memorial shows Sheila Hawkins in her Hampstead studio around 1944 with the painting Gypsy Mother on the wall behind her.
Her work is represented in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art is now open by appointment and we welcome your visit to view Gypsy Mother and other artworks in our Innovative Women exhibition.