Cover image for Batchelder tilemaker
Batchelder tilemaker
Winter, Robert, 1924-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Glendale, CA : Balcony Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
112 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NK4670.7.U53 B389 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"The importance of Ernest Batchelder as an Arts and Crafts tilemaker cannot be overstated. For his innovation in design, his entrepreneurial spirit, his living his life true to the principles that he espoused, he is a man to be admired by all generations." (Joseph A. Taylor, Tile Heritage Foundation)

Ernest Batchelder's ceramic tilemaking enterprise began as a modest backyard venture in rural Pasadena, California but quickly grew to national prominence. In 1908 this enterprising young man left a prestigious teaching position to start his own school and factory, with the goal of establishing a West Coast guild of craftspeople. By 1930 the Batchelder-Wilson Company had showrooms in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, as well as representation in virtually every major city inthe United States. New York, Minneapolis, and Vancouver hosted major Batchelder architectural ceramic installations.
Batchelder remained the preeminent leader of handmade tiles in the West until the Depression forced the closure of his operations in 1932. His clients ranged from restaurants to churches to high rise office buildings, although perhaps the most striking installations remain the many fireplaces gracing modest American bungalows throughout the country.

Author Notes

Robert W. Winter is a professor at Occidental College as well as the author of numerous books, including Toward a Simpler Way of Life: Arts and Crafts Architects of California, American Bungalow Style, and the seminal Guides to Architecture in Los Angeles

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Winter's concise story of Ernest Batchelder's aesthetic influence via historic ceramic tile making in early-20th-century American decorative design offers much more than nostalgic interest for contemporary readers. England's 19th-century Arts and Crafts Movement is seen as significantly carried forward by Batchelder well into the first quarter of the 20th century, through now-historic residential and corporate interiors across America. Interiors were enhanced by exquisite fireplaces, tiled ceilings, and walls with contrasting textured tile trims and surfacing. Through the 1930s, Batchelder tiles with art deco patterns and rich glazes of earthy umbers, siennas, blues, oranges, and greens demonstrated the indoor-outdoor environmental interrelationships of Louis Sullivan's and Frank Lloyd Wright's influences. Winter (Occidental College) offers exceptionally beautiful color reproductions of individual tiles and interiors of buildings. Illustrations show the tiled interior surfaces as related to exterior foliage, trees, and other environments. These visuals bring to contemporary readers a sharp awakening to the relevance of this earlier period for our own expectations and aspirations for today's high-tech design. The tiles' warmth and humanistic qualities and their visual impact stand in startling contrast to emerging visual imagery of current American cultural directions. This small, eloquent volume is a welcome visual respite for library reading tables, home environments, and office waiting rooms. All levels. J. L. Leahy; Marygrove College