Robert Bateman was born on August 12, 1842 at Biddulph Grange, the third son of the distinguished horticulturalist and landscape gardener James Bateman and his wife Maria Egerton-Warburton. Robert was educated at Brighton College from 1855-60. He was encouraged and mentored in his early artistic career by his parent’s friend, the marine artist Edward W. Cooke, who took Bateman on a sketching tour of Spain and Algeria in 1860-61 and Venice in 1863. In April 1867 Bateman travelled to Paris with Cooke to visit the Exposition Universelle.

Bateman entered the Royal Academy Schools in April 1865 on the recommendation of Sir Francis Grant. From 1865 until 1869, when his parents moved from Biddulph to London, he lived at 21 Wigmore Street with a studio in Nottingham Street. Although Bateman exhibited six works at the Royal Academy between 1871 and 1889, his favourite exhibition venue initially was the Dudley Gallery, followed later by the Grosvenor Gallery. In 1871 he was living at 15, Duke Street, Manchester Square. He rented the family’s old home, Biddulph Old Hall from 1872. He also lived at 9, Hyde Park Square in London from 1876.

On October 18, 1883 he married Caroline Octavia Howard, the daughter of the Hon. Henry Edward Howard, Dean of Lichfield. She was the widow of the Reverend Charles Wilbraham. The Batemans lived initially at Biddulph Old Hall and in 1889 were also living at 23, Crawford Street, London. In 1890 they moved to Benthall Hall, a sixteenthth-century mansion near Much Wenlock in Shropshire. Bateman redesigned the gardens here and added the rockeries and terraces. In 1906 they moved to their last home, Nunnery Delamere, near Frome in Somerset. In 1901 he became one of the founder members of the Society of Painters in Tempera. He died on August 11, 1922, shortly after his wife’s death on July 30, 1922. They were buried in a joint grave in St. George’s Churchyard in Whatley in Somerset.

Bateman was a cultured, learned individual. He pursued interests in philosophy, botany and horticulture, and was an Italian scholar. He and his wife were engaged in philanthropic causes. Bateman was not just a painter but also a sculptor, amateur architect, and a garden designer/gardener. He was an illustrator for both periodicals and books. In the 1870s he did illustrations for The People’s Magazine. He did a series of woodcuts for A Plea for Art in the House by W. J. Loftie and published by Macmillan and Co. in 1876. Bateman also designed religious woodcuts with his work appearing in The Latin Year, The Church Service, and A Century of Bibles.


Kavanagh, Amanda. “Robert Bateman: A True Victorian.” Apollo 130 (September 1989): 174-79.

Daly, Nigel: The Lost Pre-Raphaelite: The Secret Life and Loves of Robert Bateman, London: Bitter Lemon Press/Wilmington Square Books, 2014. [Review by George P. Landow]

Last modified 17 February 2023