My heart be still, did you notice the vintage decorative tiles in one of the pink bathrooms at the Leo Carrillo Ranch? I was curious, of course, and asked buddy Bungalow Bill, who right quick answered:
Whew, that was an easy one. Gladding McBean in Glendale and Hermosa Beach CA 1875-1962. I am attaching a photo from the book California Tile, The Golden Era 1910-1940 Vol 1 from the California Heritage Museum showing that tile with other examples from the company.
The tile is also pictured in Norman Karlson’s Encyclopedia Of American Art Tile, Vol 4. Both should be available on PAmazon 😉
Gerry Streff, archivist from the Leo Carrillo Ranch, also confirmed the tiles were purchased Gladding McBean’s Hermosa Tile Division. She also sent me the fabulous images at the top of this story and the photo of the main bathroom (below) with the wagon tile – squint, it’s there along the sunken tub surround:
The main bathroom (with the sunken tub) features the wagon tile, while the Horseman’s Bedroom, furnished with custom Monterey furniture, has the accent tile of the man in a sombrero.
Meanwhile, googling around for more about Gladding McBean, I found this excellent research about the history of their trademarks — which includes a history of their acquisitions. Seems like Catalina Tile, Tropico Tile and even Franciscan dinnerware all became part of the Gladding McBean empire by about 1940. I also liked this article about the use of art tile in the U.S., mostly before World War II.
My key takeaway: Decorative tiles like these came out of the Arts & Crafts tradition — in which hand-crafted products were again revered following the onslaught of factory-made products made possible by the Industrial Revolution. Interestingly, today’s Etsy and handmade revival is largely seen to be reaction against Made In China excess.
These Gladding McBean tiles — with their often-sentimental themes — also seem to fit within the “Romantic Revival” aesthetic of the early 20th century, which brought us not only bungalows, but also Tudors, Spanish Mediterranean, mini-Palacios and other styles of homes that romanticized old Europe architectural styles. Romantic Revival homes were popular in the 1920s and into the 1930s.
Finally — The Tile books: Added to Pamazon. Thanks, Bill! Thanks, Gerry! Thanks, Thommy and Nancy!