Nigel Daly is an antique dealer and house restorer. This story emerges from discoveries made while restoring an ancient Staffordshire manor house featured on Restored to Glory (BBC, 2006). Daly also won Grand Designs, Restoration award in 2008.
'If ever there were a life that proves the adage about truth
beating the wildest imaginings of fiction it's that of Robert
Bateman, an artist almost lost to memory. It entailed both the
brutal suppression of a love affair between a Victorian artist and
his social superior and the extraordinary lengths to which the
lovers and their accomplices went in order to ensure that their
story didn't see the light of day in their life time. More lurid
than any Victorian novel, it features an unconsummated marriage, a
crucial will, a cruel stepfather, an abandoned child, a selfless
vicar and a sudden death. Buffalo Bill also puts in a critical
But perhaps the most remarkable thing about this strange story is that it has only come to light because the lovers left a trail of evidence hidden in plain sight, in the paintings of Bateman, an odd, unclassifiable painter associated with the Aesthetes and Romantics.
The clues have been pieced together by Nigel Daly in a new book: The Lost Pre-Raphaelite; the Secret Life and Loves of Robert Bateman. He only stumbled on the trail because he bought and renovated Bateman's old home, and the truth he uncovered--revealed in the final chapter--would not, with all its twists and turns, have been out of place in a novel by Wilkie Collins.' Telegraph (London)- Richard Dorment-July 19,2014 "The Lost Pre-Raphaelite is fascinating and engrossing book, as well as an important contribution to our knowledge of Victorian painting, Victorian gardening, and the crippling rule of Victorian social convention. Remembered because of his contemporaries' admiration, Robert Bateman, with only a single intriguing work in any public collection, has until now been an extremely difficult artist to see, truly a "Lost Pre-Raphaelite". Daly has fleshed him out with biographical information and a corpus of often beautiful (and beautifully reproduced) works, largely unearthed by his determined sleuthing, and has composed a totally unexpected but convincing portrait of the man, which bears directly upon the content of his otherwise often inexplicable pictures. This is not a book by an art historian, but perhaps a better book for that, written with an engaging freshness and originality which make it a pleasure to read." Allen Staley, Professor (Emeritus) of the History of Art at Columbia University, New York, and author of "The Pre-Raphaelite Landscape".