Bernard William Roland Batchelor, RWS (1889-1990) Roland Batchelor’s primary subject was ordinary French life presented with a warmth and sharpness of vision. The results were as close to Gallic film comedies as to the work of his two favourite artists, Daumier and Toulouse-Lautrec. Roland Batchelor was born in Chelsea on 16 October 1889. He drew and painted from an early age, and established his primary subject from a school trip to France: a relaxed view of life in the country comparable to French film comedies and work of Daumier and Lautrec. He entered the Civil Service in 1905, and attended evening classes given by Punch artist George Morrow at the Putney School of Art; his comic contributions to the Civil Service Opinion were obviously influenced by Morrow’s teaching. After serving in France and Italy during the First World War, he studied under Harry Watson at the Regent Street Polytechnic; at the same time, he discovered a volume on Rembrandt which helped him to develop hid characteristically lively line.
He learnt etching from William Palmer Robins at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and made the acquaintance of his most important teacher, Middleton Todd.
Batchelor exhibited watercolours at the RA from 1937, and watercolour proved to be his essential medium, fitted to his light subjects (some of which have affinities with the work of Ardizzone). In 1949, he retired as Chief Executive Officer in the Customs and Excise Department, and returned, with his son Bernard Batchelor, to study under Middleton Todd, at the City and Guilds School. 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 in 1987. He died on 6 October 1990.
For further information on the life and work of Batchelor, please refer to Patricia Jarrett, Roland Batchelor. water-colours and drawings. a 20th-century view of the human comedy, published by Eve de Leef in association with Chris Beetles Ltd in 1993.