BRANDON-COX, Hugh

1917 - 2003

Born at Elmstead Market, Essex on 14 June 1917, his father, Colonel John Brandon-Cox, a naturalist and explorer, had been killed during a Zulu uprising in Southern Africa (where he was serving as District Commissioner) a few months before his only son was born.
Hugh's mother, Eva, died of tuberculosis when he was five years old when Hugh went to live with his maternal grandmother at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. His grandmother died when he was nine years old when he was cared for by an aunt and her husband, who was subsequently killed in a motorcycle accident. He spent a great deal of his childhood exploring the Essex countryside around the river Colne, being encouraged by his grandmother and aunt, who took him on bird watching expeditions to the Essex marshes. At the outbreak of war in 1939, Brandon-Cox volunteered for active service and, because of his knowledge of Swedish, subsequently spent much of the war in Scandinavia serving with the special forces helping a large number of people to escape to Britain. After the war he went to live in Wiltshire where he founded the successful 'West Countryman' magazine but later moved to Cambridge where he worked as a countryside and nature correspondent for a national magazine, often illustrating his articles with his own photographs. BBC television, ITV and the Educational Foundation for Visual Aids, commissioned him to make a series of educational films about life in northern Scandinavia. Brandon-Cox wrote and illustrated a series of books about his travels in Norway and the Arctic circle and later wrote books including 'The Trail of the Arctic Nomads' (1969), 'Summer of a Million Wings' (1974), 'A Longing to Explore' (1976). About 1953 he settled at Grove House, Blaxhall, Woodbridge, Suffolk with his second wife Zsa Zsa and their two children. Well known for his watercolours of country scenes and wildlife and was a member of the Ipswich Art Club 1955-1957 exhibiting from Blaxhall in 1954 two watercolours 'The Dawining Spring' and 'Pheasant on Eggs'. Together with his third wife, Ulla Maija, a Finn he then settled at Blickling, Aylsham, Norfolk from where he began to progress his skills as an artist, encouraged by a successful exhibition of some of his paintings at a Thetford hotel. In 1977, shortly after their move to Blickling, his wife, who was only in her thirties, died of cancer. He married for a fourth time in 1981, Janet Surridge and over the next 20 years, they moved several times to different villages in Norfolk including Mundesley where he kept a small art shop selling his paintings, finally settling at Bessingham, near Norwich. Brandon-Cox spent most of his time touring the county making field sketches of landscape and wildlife before turning them into paintings. In 2002, he published 'Mud on My Boots', a personal account, illustrated with his own paintings, and his last book was 'Softly Wakes The Dawn', an illustrated anthology of extracts from his Countryman's Notes columns. He died on 3 December 2003 and was survived by his wife Janet, and by two sons and two daughters from earlier marriages.
















Works by This Painter