Beyond the garden of Greenleaves, which was really a patch of overgrown downland, stands of thick broadleaved trees grew, a mixture of oak, birch, larch and chestnut, with a distinctive undergrowth of rhododendron. The garden merged almost imperceptibly into the greater woodland. Hitchens’ approach to his subject was a formal engagement with shape, space and depth, very like Cézanne. The shapes of flowers were depicted against trees or in front of the framing rectangles of a door or window. Reflection in water was a favourite theme. Screens of tree-trunks receding into space articulated the distance. Hitchens tended to paint from the ground up, and the sky in the forest was only a vague presence suggested by light filtered through leafy boughs. Hitchens often spoke of his painting as if it was predominantly abstract, and the subject of very limited importance, and yet the visual scene was always the key to his art. Up until his last months he was hefting a canvas out into the woods to record his sensations in front of nature.