Ivon Hitchens

Damp Autumn


Not on display

Ivon Hitchens 1893–1979
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 406 × 743 mm
Purchased 1941

Display caption

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’.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

N05255 DAMP AUTUMN 1941
Inscr. ‘Hitchens’ b.l.
Canvas, 16×29 1/4 (41×74); the painted canvas is turned in 1 in. above and below and 1/2 in. on right. The size given is that of the stretcher.
Purchased from the Leicester Galleries (Knapping Fund) 1941.
Exh: New Year Exhibition of Contemporary British Artists, Leicester Galleries, January 1941 (82).
Repr: Mervyn Levy, Painting for All, 1958, facing p.16 (in colour); Painter and Sculptor, 11, No.3, 1959, p.6.

Painted in 1941 at Lavington Common, where the artist has lived since 1940. He wrote (23 November 1957): ‘Whereas in the Shropshire days the romantic element of place was paramount - the more settled life with permanent roots in this soil, has led to a deeper search for the more abstract elements of a given subject which I may paint from continuously many times over. The earlier period is of course represented by “Damp autumn”.... Tho born in London, at a very early age I went to live among the silver birches and bracken and heather of Surrey, so that this area of Sussex has seemed homelike and familiar from the start.’ See also N04923.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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