A budding young Uttlesford artist launches his first exhibition after being discovered by a landlady

Jude Holland

Jude Holland - Credit: Archant

A landlady discovered the artistic talent of a seven-year-old as he sat and drew her while she was at work. Now, the youngster is holding his first ever exhibition in her pub.

Jude Holland

Jude Holland - Credit: Archant

Jude Holland, of London Road, Saffron Walden, created a cartoon version of Tanya Mann, of the Vine, in Great Bardfield – a village famed for its artists – while having lunch with his family in the summer.

Mrs Mann was so impressed by his cartoon impression of her she asked him to come back in October with a collection of his work to put on display.

Jude, who has a blog on the Tate Museum’s Kids website and was invited to meet the animators for children’s TV programme Moshi Monsters, said: “This lady called Tanya saw me in the pub once, I did not know her, but she looked at my pictures and saw that they were really good and then she wanted me to do an exhibition. It was pretty amazing and I felt really excited.”

His collection at the Vine, which launched on Sunday, features pieces of Great Bardfield landmarks which Jude, a pupil at RA Butler Academy, added cartoon characters to.

The recognition of Jude’s talent by Mrs Mann is significant because of the village’s history. During the middle of the 20th century a group known as The Great Bardfield Artists lived there and in the 1950s organised a series of large ‘open house’ exhibitions which attracted national and international press attention.

The artists, who were diverse in style, included Edward Bawden, Stanley Clifford-Smith, Audrey Cruddas, Walter Hoyle and Sheila Robinson.

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“I like drawing Tom and Jerry and I like to draw other cartoons,” Jude said. “When I went to the Tate I did drawings of the famous paintings and added stuff to them. I did that with the Great Bardfield drawings as well because I knew people from the village would be going to look at them.”

Jude’s mum Rachel Yates, a theatre director, said: “I am always astonished by his work. Jude started drawing when he was around three and since then he has taught himself how to draw cartoons and animations. It is just remarkable for a child of that age to understand the techniques behind it.”

At the launch of the exhibition, named the Jude Art Expo; the Bardfield Series, the youngster was drawing sketches of people and raised £60 for the Essex Air Ambulance through donations.

Mrs Mann said: “I always wanted to use the Vine as a place to show off local artists’ work and here I knew I had found the first one. His work is very good and we just fell in love with him.”

Jude’s work will be on display at the Vine until the end of November.