Lorraine Gill Galleries - The Outback Series

The House of May

I was staying with some very old friends, John and Janet Newland in Western Australia, who were about 70 and whom I hadn't seen for a very long time. They wanted to show me the new environment and all of the historic and romantic things that they were living near, so Janet took me on a very long drive into the Outback; she wanted to show me a very very special, oasis-like, temple-like place: The House of May.

In Australian folk-law there is a story, written by May Gibbs, about Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie. Australian children were brought up on the story of Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie, who were two little babies whose physical beings were based on the Gum Nut.

Gum trees have a flower which is uniquely beautiful. Before they flower they produce a nut, the top of which is like a little cap. Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie used to wear their little gum-nut caps on top of their heads. For children they were really sweet and really real. The House of May is where May Gibbs wrote the Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie series; she was a Victorian lady who chose to live in this oasis. The house was built of wood and it was sublime; a creek ran more or less underneath. May created a set of gardens that were the closest to paradise you could ever imagine.

There she was, a lady living alone in this fairytale land in the middle of the heat and the Outback, writing her stories for children about Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie. It was far too interesting and colourful and unique and romantic not to make a watercolour of it.

Now the painting itself: on the left you will find a side part of the building; it is on stilts as you can see, because that little benign creek used to flood and they had to build the house very high on stilts to protect it. The entire house was built of and on wood, and had a slatted roof which was a deep red.

Underneath the house there was a profusion of coloured plants in reds, yellows and the most infinite variety of greens; next to that the white- blossomed tree which sparkled in the sunlight and then, running from left to right, the two meandering shapes of the river itself, which at the time I saw it was a muddy brown with an orange bank.

Growing out of the bank were Australian ferns and overhanging tropical flowers; beyond that was the forest of white gums, which were tipped with greens and reds and yellows; the entire scene was a profusion of colour.

The gum trees which were opposite the creek, and which were the inspiration for Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie, were the trees where the flowering gums would produce the nuts that inspired the children’s story.

May wrote her stories inspired by her environment of all the little creatures that would live amongst all the flowers and the inspirational trees that surrounded her.

The House of May

Prints are available in several sizes and have the option to be hand signed by Lorraine, each size has a limited print run of 250 and are individually numbered.

Dimensions without borders (approx)

All prices are inclusive of worldwide postage and packaging.