I was delighted to contacted recently by writer, illustrator and broadcaster Jude Cowan Montague who we featured on the website when she was writing her Young Hitch series of books about Alfred Hitchcock.
Jude’s latest work is on a more personal level and illustrates her changing personal life against the background of a changing Isle of Dogs in the 1990s.
Jude Cowan Montague lived on the Isle of Dogs with her husband in the early 1990s, it was a whirlwind romance and a very difficult time for her as she became quickly pregnant and her husband’s mental health began speedily to degenerate. The stress increased and the knock on effect for both after the separation dominated their lives for years to come.
The work is very much her story and a love story told with affection but also humour as her style is comic and tender.
The backdrop is the changing times of early 1990s Docklands. The level of construction taking place on the island at this time echoes the confusion of the relationship. The sounds and remaking of the physical world of the Isle of Dogs, the erection of Canary Wharf, the cranes embody the frustration of trying to build a family life.
Her husband was one of the participants in the self-build scheme on Westferry Road. Their house was close to Mudchute Farm, which provided a bucolic escape and a much-needed space for reflection.
In her drawings the Isle of Dogs is a ghost land, full of memories and fear as well as happiness, love and sheer dogged determination of a young pregnant woman and young mother trying to hold the world together.
Holding her domestic world together turned out to be impossible and there are some moments which are too painful to share in this tender narrative which has a wider interest for its psychological interaction with the changing landscape.
The work is still in progress. If you’re interested in keeping in touch with the project, email email@example.com