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In this painting Hitchens used a palette knife (top left), rags to wipe away paint (top left) and vigorous brush strokes to create an active surface. Painted in his Hampstead studio this work 'dates from the kind of surroundings and the period of [Hitchens's] urban life - from about 1920-40 before the full impact of nature and country living.' The shallow space and overlapping forms suggest the influence of the post-Cubist still lifes of Braque. So does the use of accents of colour to punctuate an otherwise sombre painting. The strength of colour, however, is more suggestive of Matisse. The table-top still life was a theme favoured by many Seven and Five painters.

August 2004