HITCHENS, (Sydney) Ivon

1893 - 1979

Ivon Hitchins

As Sydney Ivon Hitchens, he was born at 35 Kensington Square, London on 3 March 1893, the only son of painter Alfred Hitchens and his wife Ethel Margaret, née Seth-Smith and in 1895 the family moved to Homewood, Englefield Green, Surrey. Educated at Conamur School, Sandgate, Kent and Bedales School, Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire. 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, with a domestic servant, when he attended St John's Wood Art school followed by the Royal Academy schools which he attended intermittently until a fourth and final year 1919 when he acquired a studio in Hampstead, London. An painter who first exhibited during the 1920’s and became associated with the 'Seven and Five Society of Artists’ (1919-1935) and exhibited with them during the 1930’s. During this time he had a 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 Hughes-Stanton [q.v.], and honeymooned at Sizewell , after his marriage at Hove, Sussex in 1935, to Mary Cranford Coates. Only towards the close of the 1930’s, 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. 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. He 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 Painter