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In 1940 Hitchens and his family evacuated their bombed-out London home for Lavington Common near Petworth in Sussex, where he had often painted in the late 1930s. The woods there became the main subject of his art. While such works clearly follow the tradition of Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable, Hitchens was also interested in modern artists, in particular the Cubist Georges Braque. He wrote that his new ‘more settled life, with permanent roots in this soil, has led to a deeper search for the more abstract elements of a given subject’.

August 2004