The evocation of water was a speciality of Hitchens throughout his painting career but 1965 proved to be a year particularly rich in riverscapes. This one was shown in 1966 at the Poindexter Gallery, New York in an exhibition billed as Hitchens' 'First one-man show in the United States'. Regrettably, and surprisingly, it was to be followed by only one other, at Theo Waddington's, also in New York, in 1983. One might expect the bold brushstrokes and seductive colour of Hitchens' mature mastery to have made more of a splash.
The compositional 'building blocks' are deceptively simple: overlapping screens of colour - horizontal in the foreground to suggest the movement of water, vertical in the middle distance and background to create a sense of recession to right and to left, with a strong vertical pivot off-centre right. In counterpoint to this basic structure stands the startlingly pink bridge (its arch underscored by warm Venetian red and ochre), which draws the eye to the far left of the canvas then releases it to continue its exploration of the near and far spaces.
The outstanding quality of this painting is the orchestration of its colour in depth, a mark of Hitchens' increasingly complex vision. For example, in the left foreground semi-transparent veils of colour half reveal unexpected warm tones, while in the upper right half of the picture warm overlays cool. The bravura handling is everywhere underpinned by a carefully considered balance of opposites.