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. Sydney was 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 School of Art, the Royal Academy Schools followed this 1912-1916 and following two years’ service in hospital supply during the First World War and still not fully recovered from his youthful illness, Hitchens was declared unfit for active service in 1916 when he returned to the RA Schools 1918-1919, when he acquired a studio in Hampstead. In 1928, under the will of his aunt, Mrs Ellen Eliza Sturge Hitchens, he inherited a £1,000 legacy which gave him some independence. An artist who first exhibited during the 1920s and became associated with the Seven and Five Society of Artists and exhibited with them during the 1930s. Hitchens was elected a member of the London Artists' Association in 1929, of the London Group of Artists in 1931, and of the Society of Mural Painters in 1937. 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. Sydney married at Hove, Sussex on 27 June 1935, Mary Cranford Coates (2 August 1909-26 May 1993) and honeymooned at Sizewell. Towards the close of the 1930s, when Hitchens had ended a brief flirtation with abstracts', 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. Sydney Ivon Hitchens 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