Hitchens was born in London and studied at St John’s Wood School of Art and at the Royal Academy Schools. In 1940, he moved to West Sussex, where he was to spend the rest of his life. There, he was able to distance himself from artistic trends and immerse himself in nature, which was his greatest inspiration. Preferring to paint outdoors, Hitchens is known primarily for his atmospheric landscape paintings, which depict a mysterious and evocative countryside. With a sensual and painterly use of colour, Hitchens had a strong feeling for place but his paintings balance an emotional response with structure. Influenced by Cézanne, Hitchens’ brushwork and handling of paint are integral to the meaning of his paintings.