Stephen John Batchelder

Stephen John Batchelder was born in Bolton, Lancashire on January 17th 1849. His father, a travelling showman, born in Norfolk, was touring the Bolton area at the time. When Batchelder was about 10, the  family moved from bolton to preston. Here, he had the chance to study freehand and model drawing.

Shortly after this, the family moved back to Norwich and Batchelder attended Yarmouth School of Art, studying the principles of drawing and painting.

When he was 32, Batchelder decided to devote himself entirely to painting and sketching. In 1883 his one-man show in Norwich led to many commissions. For the most part, Batchelder’s paintings are reminders of the Broadland scene and the local countryside in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Largely for relaxation, Batchelder took pleasure in the miniature, the base usually measuring 7x5in. The picture measuring approximately 6x4in.

Failing eyesight compelled Batchelder to give up painting in 1929 and in 1931 it was written in the Eastern Evening News  “Stephen Batchelder whom to know is to admire and love, is placidly spending life’s autumn having laid down his brushes, not a rifle shot distant from his favourite Bure”.

Batchelder died 18 months later, in his 83rd year, a morose and unhappy man, having lost interest in life, when he could no longer paint.

For almost 50 years, Batchelder was able to paint his beloved Broads, his only real disappointment being that he never had a picture accepted for the Royal Academy.

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