ROLAND BATCHELOR RWS (1889-1990)
Bernard William Roland Batchelor RWS was born in Chelsea on 16th October 1889. From an early age he drew and painted and after a school trip to France he became interested in painting and drawing French life in the countryside. He entered the Civil Service in 1905 and took evening classes given by the Punch artist, George Morrow at the Putney School of Art.
After serving in France and Italy during the First World War, Batchelor studied under Harry Watson at the Regent Street Polytechnic. While he was studying, he discovered a volume on Rembrandt and this led him to develop his characteristically lively line. He learnt etching from William Palmer Robins at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London and it was here that he met Middleton Todd, his influential teacher.
He exhibited his watercolours at the Royal Academy from 1937. Watercolour was his preferred medium as it complemented his subjects, some of which have affinities with the artist Edward Ardizzone’s work. In 1949 he retired as Chief Executive Officer in the Customs & Excise Department and returned to study under Middleton Todd at the City & Guilds School.
Batchelor very much admired the work of Daumier, Rowlandson, Turner and Rembrandt and enjoyed observing people in everyday life, recording scenes and incidents in an anecdotal manner. He was elected to the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours (ARWS 1957, RWS 1966). He was the subject of a retrospective at the Bankside Gallery, London in 1987.
For further information on the life and work of Batchelor, please refer to Patricia Jarrett, Roland Batchelor. Watercolours and drawings. A 20th-century view of the human comedy, published by Eve de Leef in association with Chris Beetles Ltd in 1993.