My Mother is not Your Mother by Margaret Hockney


The world knows all about David Hockney, but little about the artist’s extraordinary sister Margaret …. that’s about to change with the publication of her memoir, My Mother is not Your Mother - a fascinating book about a fascinating woman, her family and her life.

“My mother was in my head for pretty well every day from the age of ten until shortly after she died fifty years later. I used to think that I was the only daughter in the world who did not relate well with her mother. Of course I did learn that was not the case, but the emotional conflict stayed with me.’

Born in Bradford in 1935, Margaret Hockney was the only girl amidst four boys. Her family stood out  – her father, Kenneth, was a conscientious objector, leading to unemployment, tensions with neighbours and giving the family a kind of outsider status. Margaret had sympathy for her father but struggled for decades against her religiously zealous mother. Laura Hockney wanted more than her only daughter could ever give. 

Forging a career in the burgeoning postwar NHS gave Margaret a chance to escape. She worked as a nurse and midwife across the UK, Africa and Australia. But wherever she went, she felt hounded by her mother’s constant letters begging for news. It lead to a nervous breakdown with suicidal episodes. She spent almost 9 months in hospital in Australia, undergoing insulin shock treatment and electro-convulsive therapy (ECT.) Eventually she made a complete recovery.

Margaret bore no hatred towards her mother, but felt unable to be her true self as long as her mother lived. “On the day she died in 1998, I was 63 years old. My new computer was delivered with internet access on the same day. It was a new start in my life.’ Always eager to learn, Margaret immersed herself in cyberspace and as her deafness became worse, the tec world became her ears. She taught her brother David what could be done with a scanner, encouraged him to experiment with digital cameras and demonstrated how much faster Photoshop had become from when he tried it years earlier, paving the way for some of his most recent works.

Published by Salts Estates Ltd, November 2017

234 pages including colour and black and white photographs.

(We also have some of Margaret Hockney's 'scannergraph' art for sale, but not online - if you are interested in acquiring a scannergraph, please contact us. They cost £70.)