Born in Paris, France, Elizabeth Eaton Burton was raised in an artistic family. They moved to the United States in 1886 and settled in Santa Barbara, CA where her father, Charles Frederick Eaton, established himself as an Arts and Crafts designer, working in metal, leather and glass. He introduced these various media to Elizabeth and she soon began exhibiting alongside him in various shows across southern California. Primarily a pupil of her father, she was only ever formally trained in drawing.
Eaton married William Burton in 1893 and in the coming years they had two children. In 1897, Elizabeth opened her first studio and by 1901 she had shown her wares as far away as New York where she gained the attention of important collectors and wealthy elite. An incredibly versatile artist and staunch exponent of the Arts and Crafts movement, she made woodcuts, watercolors, tooled leatherwork, bookbindings, lamps, and stained glass. Burton and her father exhibited at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, with Elizabeth showing leatherwork decorated with shell and silver leaf. In 1909 she won a medal at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle; that same year she and her family moved to Los Angeles where she opened her own studio.
Throughout the 1920s, Burton actively promoted French art and culture in California, for which she was awarded the Palme Academique in 1929 by the French government. She would later spend time in France, China, and Japan painting watercolors and studying woodblock printing. Several of her watercolors were published as woodblock prints by Tokyo publisher Kato Junji and they became part of a traveling exhibition that traveled the globe. Burton died in 1937, leaving behind an impressive legacy not just within the artistic circles of southern California but the American Arts and Crafts movement as a whole.
An accomplished artist, craftsperson, and designer, Elizabeth Eaton Burton’s designs are considered to be among the best of the Arts and Crafts period and remain highly sought among collectors and institutions.
Auction Results Elizabeth Eaton Burton