Born in Australia to English parents who owned an export and packing business, at the age of two Bateman’s family returned to England. Bateman studied at the Westminster School of Art, Goldsmith’s College at New Cross, and with Charles van Havenmaet. His first cartoons appeared in The Royal Magazine and The Tatler. He began contributing to Punch Magazine in 1906, and in 1912 did a weekly series of sketches for the theatre page of the Sketch. Prior to the First World War, Bateman belonged to the London Sketch Club, who would meet to sketch and discuss sketches. Advertiser’s Weekly noted that Bateman’s work was ideally suited for double-crown posters as the work was dependent upon detail, ‘the exact expression on a face, the objects on a dressing-table’, etc. At the age of 21 he had to decide between comic art work or full-time painting. Advertiser’s Weekly considered Bateman’s decision to continue with cartoons as important, although his work would have not been as familiar to advertising students as David Langdon or Bert Thomas, despite previous work for Guinness and Lloyd’s Bondman Tobacco.
Invalided out of the First World War in 1915, having spent time with the London Regiment, Bateman became known for his cartoons for Punch. In the twenties and thirties Bateman made his name through The Tatler, The Sketch and The Bystander, specialising in the depiction of angry outrage caused by anti-social or unthinking behaviour: ‘His cartoons, typified in The Man Who… series, depict with frenzied exaggeration the uproar caused by social bloomers.’ Between the wars he worked on film and poster advertisements for firms such as Lucky Strike, Guinness, and Moss Bros. Bateman is described as one of the first graphic artists to adopt a cinematic approach. One critic argued that the Bateman episodic format was “closely parallelled in the silent movie, such as the slow build up to a climax or denouement, and a new emphasis on gesture and facial expression”. In the Second World War, Bateman designed posters for the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Air Production, and the Ministry of Health, including his most famous posters: ‘Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases’. Bateman published several books including A Book of Drawings (1921), More Drawings (1922), Bateman(1931) The Art of Caricature (1936) and On the Move in England (1940). Henry Mayo Bateman died in 1970.
Information taken from: ‘Henry M. Bateman‘; Darracott, J. and Loftus, B., Second World War Posters, 1981, p.20; ‘Herbert Mayo Bateman’, Poster Database, London Transport Museum; ‘Artist Who Got A Poster Idea While Running for a Bus’, Advertiser’s Weekly, April 13 1944, p.44; Farman, J.; Caption on exhibit E.158-1973, displayed at the Power of the Poster exhibition, held at the V&A, 1997.
Bateman’s most famous drawing “The Man Who…” series of social gaffes and faux pas first appeared in “Tatler” in 1912. Working in pencil, pen, ink and water-colour, he was a master of the cartoon story without words. “The Prion Cartoon Classics” are an on-going series show-casing the finest and funniest comic cartoonists of the 20th century from Britain, Europe and the United States. (Taken from Amazon)Jensen, J. (ed.), The Man Who…and Other Drawings, 1975/1991; The Best of H.M. Bateman, 1987; The Man Who Was H. M. Bateman, 1982; Bateman, H.M., H.M. Bateman by Himself, 1937; Bateman, M., The Man Who Drew the Twentieth Century, 1969.
Featured Image Source (2015): Wikipedia