Ernest A. Batchelder, 1875-1957, was a leading Arts and Crafts movement tile maker during the 1920s. Batchelder had a vivid imagination- the tiles that he created depict scenes from storybooks, mythical creatures, scenes from far away places- he was very creative. Batchelder’s favorite motifs were birds and animals, flowers plants and leaves, geometric shapes and Mayan.
Many of his fireplaces and tiles can be found in homes around Los Angeles, including Hancock Park and Pasadena.
Mr. Batchelder founded Batchelder Tiles in his home in Pasadena in 1909. He moved twice due to expansion, with his largest business site occupying six acres. Batchelder’s products earned a gold medal at the 1915 San Diego Exposition. One of Batchelder’s last and largest projects was the Hershey Hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania, built by the famous chocolate manufacturer in 1930. Like many arts and crafts enterprises the firm was put out of business by the Depression; all of its assets were sold in 1932.
Mr. Batchelder studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Birmingham, England, and also taught at the Harvard Summer School of Design, organized the Handicraft Guild in Minneapolis, and directed the department of arts and crafts at Throop Poly- technic Institute in Pasadena.
Mr. Batchelder published Principles of Design in 1904 and his numerous articles for The Craftsman were compiled as the book Design in Theory and Practice in 1910.
A Quote from Batchelder Tile’s 1924 Fireplace Mantel Catalog:
“The Fireplace- the place where the fire burns,- suggests at once a place of comfort, of cheer, of friends, of books. In a peculiar and intimate sense it is the center of the home. The mantel serves to unite the homely utility of fire, soot and ashes with a form, color and texture designed to bring the fireplace into harmonious relation with the decorative scheme of the room. The mantel becomes at once the focal point of interest; one can afford to devote thoughtful attention to its design. It should possess a distinctive character of its own sufficient to assert itself, but withal should not be unduly conspicuous. It should have a “built in” appearance as if it were an inevitable part of its environment.”
Batchelder House was buit in 1910 at 626 South Arroyo Boulveard in Pasadena.