My history hero: Chris Packham chooses Ivon Hitchens

“If you look at Hitchens’ paintings, they are the colour of southern England in summer and autumn. As far as I’m concerned he’s up there with the greats like Turner and Constable”. Chris Packham, naturalist and television presenter, explains why he chose British artist Ivon Hitchens as his history hero

British Artist Ivon Hitchens. (Image by Bridgeman)

Ivon Hitchens was a British painter best known for his panoramic landscapes created from blocks of colour. He started exhibiting in the 1920s and became part of the London Group of artists in the 1930s. During the Blitz, he was forced to move to Petworth, Sussex, where he spent the rest of his life.

When did you first hear about Ivon Hitchens?

My mother would take me to Southampton Art Gallery and there is a painting there by the artist Paul Nash. It was that which, in my late teens, led me to discover Ivon Hitchens. The two of them were friends and hung out together and, while there are parallels, their work is different: one is known for his war paintings and the other [Hitchens] for his visually striking but unorthodox landscapes.

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