Born at Bushey, Hertfordshire on 23 April 1909, Hugh Boycott Brown learned to paint with his father, the watercolourist Allan Robert Brown, who was art master at the Royal Masonic School. Several other members of the family were artists, including Hugh’s brother Michael. Boycott Brown was educated at the Margaret Frobisher School in Bushey, attending evening classes at the Watford School of Art, and then at the Heatherley’s School of Art, where he studied under Frederick Whiting and Bernard Adams. Very early on he began to paint in the open air, capturing the sudden changes of light and colour. Old sailing barges and other interesting craft were always popular subjects, but cloud formations were also of particular interest; he kept detailed charts linking prevailing winds to cloud forms in order that he could use them to best advantage in his work. Constable and Boudin were his gods, but his direct, spontaneous style owes much to the impressionists. In 1929 Boycott Brown began to teach at the Royal Masonic School, but he spent as much time as he could painting in East Anglia, where he became friends with David Birch and John Arnesby Brown, both of whom greatly influenced his work. During the Second World War he served as an Intelligence Officer, working in India, South Africa, Burma and Northern Ireland, and after the war returned to teaching, this time purchasing a cottage at Blakeney, Norfolk so that he could continue to paint the Norfolk coast in his spare time. He exhibited at all the major London galleries, including the Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Institute of Painters in Oils and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, as well as in East Anglia and the U.S.A. In 1970 he retired to Middleton, Suffolk, where he continued to paint right up until his death at Westminster, London in 1990.
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