Ernest A. Batchelder

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Ernest A. Batchelder (1875–1957) was an artist and educator who made Southern California his home in the early 20th century. He is famous as a maker of art tiles and as a leader in the American Arts and Crafts Movement.

Batchelder came to Pasadena, California, in the early 1900s to teach, and became director of the art department at Throop Polytechnic Institute, the predecessor of the California Institute of Technology.

His life took a turn in 1909 when, behind his house overlooking the Arroyo Seco, he built a kiln and entered the business of creating hand-crafted art tiles. The tiles were hugely popular, and by the 1920s, Batchelder’s tiles could be found in homes and buildings across the United States. Batchelder’s prominence in Southern California's art community included his involvement in the founding of the Pasadena Art Institute and his membership in the Pasadena Society of Artists. Batchelder was also the third Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Pasadena Playhouse, to which he contributed an original tile fireplace and fountain (recently restored).

The Batchelder House built in Pasadena, California, in the early 1900s, and where he set up his first kiln, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The current resident, Dr. Robert Winter, wrote the definitive Batchelder history, Batchelder Tilemaker (Balcony Press, 1999, 112 pp, ISBN 1-890449-03-2). Although the house is not open to the public, some Batchelder tiles, stamped with heraldic animals and figures, may be found on the walkway in front of the dwelling.

Batchelder tile, detail on chimney of Batchelder house, Pasadena 

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