Ivon Hitchens was born in London and studied at St John's Wood School of Art, 1911, and the Royal Academy Schools, 1912-19, before co-founding the 7 & 5 Society in 1919. His work was strongly influenced by the French Post-Impressionists Cézanne, Braque and Matisse. In 1940 he moved from London to Midhurst, Sussex, where he adopted his characteristic technique of painting horizontal landscapes built up of fluid brushstrokes of often vivid colour against a white ground.
Peter Khoroche comments, 'A first-rate Hitchens, in which surface pattern and spatial recession sing together and each part of the canvas is in relationship to every other part - in which pigment and brush-stroke can be appreciated for their own sake, yet mysteriously and simultaneously suggest something seen and felt - in which an emotion is conveyed whose source might be the stillness of an autumn landscape or the shimmer of sea under a dazzling sun and azure sky - a first-rate Hitchens is as rare as a first-rate Anybody Else. The sixties and seventies were very prolific decades even by Hitchens' standards. He was at the height of his powers' (Ivon Hitchens, London, 1990, p. 106).
Hitchens painted a number of flower still lifes throughout his career, from the more figurative pieces of the 1930s to the heightened abstraction demonstrated in the later works. T. G. Rosenthal comments, 'Hitchens is a splendid painter of flowers. Indeed surrounded as he is by some of the largest and most spectacular rhododendrons in England, it would be odd if he were not. Hitchens' flower pieces are rarely conventional; they often seem to be temporary excursions from the permanently obsessing landscapes. It is as if they represent a self-administered Rorschach test in reverse; the pictures represent the associations, and the associations with one microcosmic aspect of nature turn the painting into another landscape. In a conversation with me Hitchens once said: 'I love flowers. I love flowers for painting. It's only that life's too short - one can't always do flower paintings - not a carefully arranged bunch such as people ought not to do - but doing a mixed bunch in a natural way. One can read into a good flower picture the same problems that one faces with a landscape, near and far, meanings and movements of shapes and brush strokes. You keep playing with the object' (see A. Bowness (ed.), Ivon Hitchens, London, 1973, p. 13).