John D. Batten

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For the Louisiana sheriff, see John David Batton.
One of Batten's illustrations for English Fairy Tales, 1890

John Dickson Batten (8 October 1860 – 5 August 1932), born in Plymouth, Devon, was an English painter of figures in oils, tempera and fresco and a book illustrator and printmaker. He was an active member of the Society of Painters in Tempera, with his wife Mary Batten, a gilder.


As a student at the Slade School of Fine Arts under Alphonse Legros he exhibited until 1887 at the Grosvenor Gallery with Sir Edward Burne-Jones. He indulged in mythological and allegorical themes.
Among Batten's paintings are The Garden of Adonis: Amoretta and Time, The Family, Mother and Child, Sleeping Beauty: The Princess Pricks Her Finger, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Atalanta and Melanion.

In the 1890s Batten illustrated a series of fairy tale collections edited by Joseph Jacobs, who was a member of the Folklore Society (and editor of its journal 1890–93): at least English Fairy Tales, Celtic Fairy Tales, Indian Fairy Tales, More English Fairy Tales, and More Celtic Fairy Tales from 1890 to 1895 and Europa's Fairy Book (1916). (The latter has also been issued as European Folk and Fairy Tales.)[1] He also illustrated English versions of Tales from the Arabian Nights and Dante's Inferno.

Batten also wrote two books of poetry and a book on animal and human flight.[2][3]

At the end of the 1890s he turned to the painting technique of egg tempera and played an important part in its revival with Birmingham artists such as Arthur Gaskin. His Pandora in this medium was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1913 and presented to Reading University in 1918, where it has now been restored.[4] Batten also served as a Secretary to the Society of Painters in Tempera and published in 1922 an article on The Practice of Tempera Painting.



  1. ^ "John D. Batten (1860–1932) British". SurLaLune Fairytales Illustration Gallery. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  2. ^ Verses, Cambridge: Devana Press, 1893.
      Poems, London: Chiswick Press, 1916.
  3. ^ Batten, J.D. (1928) An Approach to Winged Flight, Brighton (England): Dolphin Press.
  4. ^ “Pandora by J.D. Batten”, Reading University


Alan Windsor. (1998) Handbook of Modern British Painting and Printmaking, 1900–1990. Ashgate Publishing, 2nd ed. ISBN 1-85928-427-2 ISBN 978-1859284278.

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