The Ceramic Tiles of This Craftsman Era Maker Are Still Some of the Most Coveted in California

Have you experienced a Batchelder fireplace?

With his subtle earth tones and beautiful patters, the tile work of Ernest Batchelder is still widely admired more than 50 years after his death. Originally from New Hampshire, the tile maker moved to California in 1901 and eventually opened a factory in Lincoln Heights. According the LA Curbed, between teaching art classes at Cal Tech and traveling the globe, Batchelder devoted his time to creating exquisite ceramic tile, primarily for fireplaces, but also bathrooms, swimming pools, office lobbies and public fountains.

“As Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene were producing innovative home designs that defined California’s signature Craftsman style, Batchelder was close by, making tiles in a backyard studio. Today, many of those tiles are collector’s items, and mantels and fireplace surrounds bearing Batchelder tiles lend historical prestige to otherwise unremarkable prewar homes.

“‘He definitely commands name-brand recognition,’ says former Pasadena Museum of History director of collections Laura Verlaque, who curated a 2016 exhibit on Batchelder’s tiles. ‘There were so many other competitors who made wonderful tiles, but Batchelder is the one who everyone seems to know.’”

You can read more about this early California craftsman and his process here.

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