Joy Batchelor was the female half of the husband and wife team that created Halas & Batchelor - the studio that dominated British animation for over a quarter of a century. This book is a tribute to her and seeks to take her out from her husband's shadow and show the range of her talents and achievements.
The book is a series of essays by several authors examining aspects of her work and life such as her strengths as an illustrator, her position as a woman in an industry dominated by men and a memoir of her home life by her daughter. This approach throws up some fascinating insights into Batchelor's life but it also leads to a fair bit of repetition when it comes to basic facts. It also means that John Halas is rather sidelined which makes it feel as though her story is only half told. If you're coming fresh to Halas and Batchelor this is a significant omission. It's like a biography of Stan Laurel that scarcely mentions Oliver Hardy.
The true glory of this book lies not in its text but in its illustrations. There are plenty of them: family photos, storyboards, advertising, even a photograph of a silk scarf with the lyrics to Run Rabbit Run. Her work was both of its period and very individual. It's an impressive achievement and the book does its job of making us look at her art afresh.
Pub: Southbank Publishing
A Moving Image at Amazon UK