1893 - 1979

Ivon Hitchens

Sydney Ivon Hitchens, was born at 35 Kensington Square, London on 3 March 1893, only son of artist Alfred Hitchens (27 November 1861-5 October 1942) and his wife Ethel Margaret, née Seth-Smith (13 September 1864-2 November 1956), who married at Tangley, near Guildford, Surrey on 14 September 1887 and in 1891 were living at Kensington Square. Educated at Conamur School, Sandgate, Kent and Bedales School, Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire and to recuperate from severe appendicitis, in 1909 he travelled to New Zealand via Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), staying with relatives, returning the following year. In 1911, an 18 year old art student, living on his own account at 14 Alexandra Mansions, West End Lane, Hampstead, London with a domestic servant, whilst attending St John's Wood Art school this was followed by the Royal Academy schools which he attended intermittently until a fourth and final year in 1919, when he acquired a studio in Hampstead. In 1928 he inherited a £1,000 legacy under the will of his aunt, Mrs Ellen Eliza Sturge Hitchens which gave him some independence. A painter who first exhibited during the 1920s and became associated with the 'Seven and Five Society of Artists’ (1919-1935) and exhibited with them during the 1930s. During this time he had a cottage retreat at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast, painting rural scenes across the county producing lyrical semi-naïve landscapes. In 1934 Hitchens painted at Higham in the Stour Valley whilst staying with artists Ida and Blair Rowlands Hughes-Stanton. He married at Hove, Sussex in 1935, Mary Cranford Coates and honeymooned at Sizewell. Towards the close of the 1930s, when Hitchens had ended a brief flirtation with abstractism, painting ‘Holbrook Pools’ to the south of Ipswich and a ‘Path Through the Wood’ during his stays on the Shotley Peninsula that his Suffolk stays ended. His London house was bombed in 1940, at which point he moved to a caravan on a patch of woodland near Petworth in West Sussex and worked from there for the next forty years, gradually augmenting his caravan with a series of buildings. He is particularly well-known for panoramic landscape paintings created from blocks of colour and for his meditations on the ponds, birch groves and bracken around his Sussex home. His work was exhibited in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1956 and Ivon was created a CBE in 1958. He died at Lavington Common, Chichester, Sussex on 29 August 1979. Ivon’s son John Patrick Coates Hitchens (born 1940) and grandson Simon Hitchens are both artists.

Works by This Artist