Stephen John Batchelder was born in Bolton. His father was a travelling showman from Norwich, the young Batchelder helped to decorate scenery for his diorama. The family moved to Preston when he was around 10 years old, which enabled him to study drawing for the first time. On returning to Norfolk he worked for a photographer in Norwich, however, his desire to return to drawing led him to enrol at the Yarmouth College of Art.
By the age of 32 he was able to support his family solely through his beloved art. He devoted himself to his new life with enthusiasm purchasing a boat named 'Smudge' in which he explored the Norfolk Broads accompanied by his close friend and fellow artist Charles Harmony Harrison. Together these two friends produced hundreds of watercolours of the Broads and documented in detail the flora and fauna of the landscape. Batchelder demonstrated a more methodical and precise style than his colleague and wrote meticulous notes on the back of each painting. His favourite subject was, perhaps, the Norfolk wherry.
He continued to paint well into his 80s.