Born 1875, in New Hampshire, Earnest Batchelder completed art education classes at the Massachusetts Normal Art School, now Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He moved to Pasadena, California in the early 1890s to teach metalwork, pottery, and tile-making at Throop Polytechnic Institute in Pasadena (now California Institute of Technology), where he later served as the director of art until 1909. That year he built a kiln behind his Pasadena home and entered the business of making hand-crafted art tiles.
Batchelder became the first manufacturer for quality decorative tile in the region and many southern California architects used them in their buildings. He ushered in the golden age of California tile making with Arts and Crafts-inspired tiles. His distinctive earthenware relief tiles were highly influenced by his 1905 European tour where he studied in Birmingham and the English Cotswolds. His training in the Arts and Crafts Movement there laid the ground work for his later style.