The 1940s were a turning point for Hitchens. A permanent move to the country had become a necessity when his London home in Adelaide Road had been bombed and the studio badly damaged by the blast. The six acres of land near Lavington Common which Hitchens bought was to become the plot on which Greenleaves was built, his studio and home for the rest of his life.
The escape from London to the seclusion and tranquility of Sussex translated into Hitchens' work. 'His pictures of the early forties, painted with unprecedented assurance and vitality, suggest an uprush of energy - a renewal through contact with nature. ... These paintings evoke a paradise regained where the archetypal family can live in primal innocence and happiness, at one with nature - an image heightened by contrast with the menace of war' (see P. Khoroche, Ivon Hitchens, London, 1990, p. 51).
It was also at this point in his life that Hitchens, although wary of committing his thoughts on painting to print, published a general statement about his painting theory and summarised his ideas: 'It boils down to this: the art of converting the three-dimensional natural appearance of nature - plus its overtones, into an ordered and 'intentional' sequence on a two-dimensional canvas - so that all is ordered to a certain end, yet the result still appears 'like nature'. Using as instruments in one's orchestra, each to be heard separately, yet all in unity, line, form, plane, shape, tone, notan, colour; warm, cool, recession, progression, softness, sharpness, crowdedness, emptiness, up and down, side to side, curves and straights, and any other pairs of opposites, ordering these in transition, opposition, repetition, symmetry and balance. Taking care to leave a 'sense of infinity', yet painting it so that it all looks easy. Romantic it may be, I cannot tell, probably it is in its method of execution. In its method of planning it is surely classical, and it is abstract' (op. cit., p. 56).