Robert Bateman (British painter) 1842 - 1922
Bateman is still a comparatively mysterious figure; though clearly an artist of great talent, he is known today by only a handful of works. According to Walter Crane, he was the leader of a group of young artists who were inspired by the pictures Burne-Jones exhibited at the Old Water-Colour Society in the 1860s, and were dubbed by the hostile critics the 'Poetry-without-Grammar-School'. The group also included Crane himself. The son of James Bateman, a distinguished horticulturalist, Bateman entered the RA Schools in 1865 and showed six works at the RA between 1871 and 1889; Crane particularly notes The Raising of Samuel (1879), 'a very weird and powerful conception ... worked out with extraordinary invention ... in symbolic and subsidiary detail'. He also showed regularly at the Dudley and Grosvenor Galleries, and William Graham, Burne-Jones' great patron, owned examples of his work. A man of imposing appearance, Bateman married Caroline Octavia Howard, the daughter of a Dean of Lichfield, in 1883, and they lived successively at Benthall Hall, a 16th century mansion near Much Wenlock, Shropshire, and at Nunnery Delamere, Frome. He was known not only as a painter, but as a sculptor, botanist, Italian scholar and philanthropist. Crane praises his paintings of flowers and observes that 'he was always experimenting ... in methods and mediums, and produced slowly, though always with exquisite finish.' He perfected a modelling material which he called 'plasma Bentellesca' (after Benthall Hall), and in 1901 was a founder member of the Society of Painters in Tempera. A devoted husband, he died only five days after his wife in 1922.