Last Updated on
The history of the Herend Porcelain Manufactory from its foundation up till today. What kind of patterns there are, how they are made, what makes them special and that expensive?
Herend is a small town in Bakony, home to the world’s largest porcelain manufactory. It employs approximately 700 people.
Apart from making pottery, the founder, Vince Stingl experimented with porcelain as well in his little pottery workshop in 1826.
From 1839, Mór Fischer, the new owner of the manufactory, focused solely on porcelain production: he made replacements for the Viennese court and the aristocracy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Queen Victoria and the Herend Porcelain
Herend products first received worldwide recognition at The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, where they did not only win official prices but also received a complete order of stylized Chinese floral and butterfly pattern china set for the Windsor Castle by Queen Victoria. It was named after the Queen and is the most popular Herend pattern.
Table of Content
Herend porcelain has been to several international exhibitions with outstanding success, proved by numerous awards in New York, Paris, London, Vienna, St. Petersburg and Brussels. Herend Porcelain Manufactory has been part of the Hungarian Heritage since 2001, and a national product registered as Hungaricum since 2013.
The Porcelanium Visitor Centre was opened in 1999. The multiple purpose building complex was designed by architect Gábor Turányi. He hid the interior spaces of various purposes inside a mass resembling an old furnace and displayed the mysteriousness of the zigzag workshops of the porcelain manufacture using outer contours. The complex is decorated with dragons, as in the Far East, the home of porcelain; dragons are the guardians of fire and protectors of the trade. Only natural materials were used during construction.
Maria Theresa bowl: the bowl, 18cm in diameter, was prepared for the 2nd International Exhibition held in London in 1862. It depicts a scene from the 1741 Diet of Pressburg when the Hungarian nobility swore allegiance to Maria Theresa being held in the arms of his father Joseph II. The declaration of loyalty has been known as “Életünket és vérünket” (With our lives and blood) in Hungarian history. There are 5 pieces of the bowl in existence. Apart from the one here, there is one in the Parliament Museum opened in 2015 in Budapest. The rest has been sold abroad. The technical feat of preparing the bowl took 3 months.
In order to provide a professional background for special knowledge in the long run, the Manufactory has Fischer Mór Porcelain Vocational School under its own maintenance where students graduated from years 8 and 10 learn the theoretical and practical secrets of the profession, including plaster model and porcelain making and porcelain painting for three years. The difficult entrance exam consists of making geometric solids, making a toned drawing and modeling a natural form using plasticine material. Painting a still life and preparing a decorative drawing from a sheet sample – Herend handmade products still win the recognition of connoisseur consumers.
The value of Herend porcelain is mainly due to the labor invested in the products, the highly-qualified craftsmen, the love for the profession and the manufactory character of molding a painting.
Herend brand name and the image of the Manufactory add a lot to the value of the products. The wide variety of products makes it possible to meet customers’ needs at the highest possible level. There are approximately 16 thousand molds and 4 thousand decors offered in Herend.
Herend Porcelain Manufactory sells its products in exclusive shops, shopping centers and brand shops in almost 60 countries. Approximately 70% of production is exported.
In Hungary, Herend has established a chain of 11 modern brand-worthy brand shops, but there are also several retail shops selling Herend products.
Apart from the Japanese Emperor, the Sultan of Brunei and Oman, the British Royal family, the King of Thailand, the Kennedys, Ronald Reagan, Otto von Habsburg, Tony Curtis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Luciano Pavarotti, Elton John, Mika Häkkinen, Lewis Hamilton and Eva Longoria, there are several other world-known companies, such as Samsung and Mol that became regular customers of Herend Porcelain in the last couple of decades.
Among other places, Herend Porcelain can be found in the UN headquarters in New York, in Vatican City, the Hungarian Parliament and the Brussels building of the European Parliament.
Herend Porcelain Manufactory Zrt. The manufactory has been operating as a joint-stock company since 1992. Due to the Employee Shareholder Program, the employees hold 75% of the shares and the remaining 25% is owned by the Hungarian State.
You can buy small souvenirs at the Porcelanium Gift Shop located in the Mini-manufactory. The Victoria Brand Shop is located on the opposite side of the square.
In the Porcelain Museum opposite the shop, visitors are introduced to the history of the Manufactory.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Apicius Restaurant and Café. The delicious food is served in different patterned Herend Porcelain at each table making the restaurant unique. Apicius Café offers a wide range of coffee specialties and cakes served in Herend Porcelain.
The two-story, late Classicist building that was home to the first Herend Porcelains is now a historic building.
The museum was opened in this building in 1964.
It has been operating as a foundation since 1991 displaying porcelain making from the earliest times until the present day.
Until the late 1960s, porcelain underwent the firing process in wood-fired kilns. The glazed products ready for firing were put in a chamfer case and placed in the lower part of the kilns. In the meantime, the upper flue gas-heated part of the kiln was used for producing bisque.
I have already talked about the two founders.
The second porcelain factory in the country was built in 1826. (The first one was in Tatabánya.)
Gaining experience as the technical manager of the Tata earthenware factory, Vince Stingl started the production of earthenware in the Miklós Mansion in Herend (which included a mill that could be turned into a mass mill). Besides producing earthenware, he made high-quality porcelain.
Continuous mass and glaze experiments consumed huge sums of money. In the end, the factory fell in the hands of the former creditor, Mór Fischer. The well-capitalized Fischer continued the experiments of his predecessor and also began to expand the plant and modernize production. So, the business previously employing a few people soon became a manufactory suitable for continuous production.
Mór Fischer came out with newer and newer and also more perfect products which led to him being given the “imperial and royal privileged porcelain factory” title in 1842 with the right to use the coat of arms of the country.
Unfortunately, no porcelain relics survived for display from Vince Sting’s workings. Mór Fischer’s oeuvre is represented in public and private collections both abroad and in Hungary, most notably the collection of the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts and the Herend Porcelain Museum.
In his early years, Fischer made Biedermeier and Neo-Baroque style porcelain for the bourgeoisie. His aristocratic supporters in the 18th-century European manufactory – in Meissen, Vienna, Sevres, and Capo di Monté – entrusted him with replacing their tableware. One of the first ones to ask Fischer to replace the broken pieces of her Meissen set was Count Károly Eszterházy’s wife in 1844.
The successful work was followed by orders from the Batthány, Széchenyi, Pálffy and Zichy families. In addition to financial security, Fischer could familiarize himself with 18th-century aristocratic collections, thus enriching his collection and mastering contemporary technology. These first orders were and are still of crucial importance in the history of Herend.
One of the most beautiful memories of that era is the Balatonfüred set made in the 1860s. Its design is characterized by the late Baroque and Rococo-like painting. Its landscape depiction is romantic and passionate. The landscapes depict Balatonfüred with the Horváth house and a drinking fountain. Another item present in the picture is Kisfaludy steamboat, the first steamboat in Lake Balaton. The same set for two persons was made as a coronation gift for Franz Joseph I and Queen Elisabeth.
Prince Archbishop József Kopácsy’s first lithophane painting was presented by Mór Fischer at the First Hungarian Applied Art Exhibition.
Lithophane is a white unglazed porcelain ornamented with a molded or printed picture. The picture is generally a reproduction of a painting, which becomes visible through the transmitting light. The essence of the technique is that the thinner the material is, the more light it transmits, and the portrait is drawn depending on material thickness as a result of precise workmanship giving it a realistic appearance.
In 1843, an arson resulted in a12 thousand pengo damage. This event was later captured on decorative bowls by Mór Fischer as miniature pictures of women trying to catch the porcelain falling from the blazing attic with their apron. Today’s museum is located in the main building that can be seen on the decorative bowl.
Porcelain images with the bust of Count Károly Eszterházy and a snuffbox decorated with scenes from the Old Testament were made. There is a recommendation in the box written in gold saying:
“Your Excellency, Galántai / Count Károly Eszterházy / His excellency, the landlord and generous protector of the Herend Manufactory, with utmost respect, the maker: FM”
At the first exhibition of Hungarian applied arts in 1842, Herend porcelain caused a huge surprise. That was also the place where Mór Fischer displayed the fish bowls. In his official report, Lajos Kossuth described the products as “meeting the requirements of a prince’s table”. His attention and support continued to be expressed through the press and the trade union.
The first price list of the Porcelain Manufactory was published in 1848, displaying the product range of the factory. The two 70cm high ornamental jugs depicting water and air – belong to a series of 4 items of the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. From the four elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire – a series of jugs symbolizing water and air with allegorical figures, rich plastic decoration, were created by the most talented Meissen porcelain sculptor of Baroque and Rococo porcelain art. Copying them required thorough preparation for sure. They were the most expensive ones costing 200 silver coins each.
The oriental jug was made in 1846 as a premonitory sign of the War of Independence having national decoration. There is a village genre scene on one side and a Vörösmarty quote on the back: “Ideje, hogy ébredezzen valaha, most kell neki felvirulni, vagy soha. (It’s time to wake up, they need to wake up now or never.)
The double-walled open-work ornamental bottle given as a present to Franz Joseph by Mór Fischer for the 1867 Compromise has the following lines written on its back: “A legelső magyar ember a király, érte minden honfi karja készen áll. (The first Hungarian person is the king; every citizen is ready to protect him.) Lelje népe boldogságán örömét, s hír, szerencse koszorúzza Szent fejét.” (May he enjoy the happiness of his nation and fame and luck shall fall upon his Holy head.)
The making of the 20-liter bottle was an exceptional technical deed at the time. The outer wall of the open-work pattern was carved with a double-edged steel knife by skilled potters while the material is still rough and in skin-hard condition. That was the time when Fischer was given the nobility title by the emperor as a recognition of his work. Fischer chose to use the forename Farkasházi commemorating his father’s family home, “Wolfhaus”. That was the height of his career.
The Indian flower basket pattern originated from India and became the traveling motif of the porcelain manufactory. It was used for faience decoration in England, but it can be found amongst the decorations of almost all manufacturers. A wreath with stylized, seemingly floating flowers and curving leaves covering the twigs and tendrils growing out from the sides of reed hedge make up the pattern. His most famous fan was Empress Eugene, Napoleon II’s wife, who had the table set at Eliséé Palace with this set for the reception of Franz Joseph at the time of the 1867 World Fair in Paris.
A cobalt-based vase with rich, plastic decoration captures the portrait of Prince Albert. She was the husband of Queen Victoria of England. They were both great patrons of art. The 1851 World Fair organized in the Crystal Palace in London was at their instance. Mór Fischer received huge praise for his products establishing the worldwide reputation of the factory there.
European interest in porcelain turn to Oriental art. They were happy to copy them as well. The unique Herend Chinoiserie of the 19th century means Fischer’s rework and reproduction of porcelain from the Far East. He managed to reproduce the diversity of the Far East in an amazing, almost unique way. The special characteristic of Chinese painting style is that the various motifs (Oriental plants, tendrils, butterflies and other animal figures, human figures) are drawn with a fine feather, then the contoured surface is filled with enamel painting. The ornament created this way is lifted out in a relief-like way.
The snail-lines on Cubasch décor were also drawn using a feather. The décor got its name after Consul Count Cubash as the beautiful pattern was created for him in Herend in 1862. The porcelain painted with this décor is ornamented with scalloped medallions enriched with stylized tulips and Chinese peony branches in leaves. There is a rooster knob on its lid. Mór Jókai – or under his pseudonym, Márton Kakas – was given one such rooster as a present which was even published in one of the Sunday papers in 1858.
Numerous porcelain ornaments were made based on the Japanese Imari Porcelain. One of Herend’s ornament variations is this representative set of four bottles with lids, which are decorated with figurines – a Chinese figure holding a bowl and sitting a bottle rack and small poultry on the bottle lid. Two types of painting techniques were applied during their preparation. The cobalt blue decoration was done in underglaze, while the iron red and gold one was made in overglaze.
An interesting example of Mór Fischer’s experiments was a large, 18th century Arita bowl, which used to be in the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts, but could not be seen by the public because of its bad condition. This decorative bowl restored for an exhibition was most probably part of a nobleman’s collection and after suffering damage was given to Mór Fischer who continued its ornamentation. A Japanese style figural scene can be seen in a scroll frame in the mirror of the bowl. The strange repaint with eclectic effect, resembling lacquer work ignored and used the original plant pattern well, covered it with thick body contour and enamel painting and continued to ornament it with gold and silver paint.
The most famous Herend Porcelain patterns
Ceramic stove tiles were produced from 1923 to the end of the 1950s.
Mór Fischer named his characteristic ornamentations after the people ordering them as a sign of his appreciation and respect for his clients, and perhaps of his pride. Such an informal presentation of the prestigious clients, the clientele, has also gained the trust of many new clients.
The Ming pattern
The Ming pattern was created in the 19th century with a woman sitting in Chinese interior as the main figure. The edges of the objects are crafted with open-work lined with turquoise glaze and gold contour. This decoration is one of the most difficult ornamentations of the Herend patterns.
On the one hand, because only the edge of the bowls is covered with the paint, so the painter needs to think carefully about the positioning of the composition on the surface of the bowls. Secondly, the fine painting of the figures and the surroundings requires huge competency.
The shape of the soup bowl follows the shape of the rice cups. The solution for the lid knob is completely unusual among European bowl knobs. The handle of the bowl is plastic goldfish or dolphin. The inside of the soup bowl is also richly painted.
The interesting thing about the shape of sauce bowls is that one of them (with a handle on the longitudinal side) follows the traditional boat shape, while the other one made with a lid and inwardly curved rim, braided ribbon tab handles and a plastic lid button attached to the lid with cambered leaves. The spice holder of lobed shape Chinese Janus handle usually expresses duality, contradiction, laughing-crying, pretty-ugly, young-old faces.
The gold painting on the edge of the bowl glows in red light resembling bronze pots. The masterpiece porcelains were originally made to complement the deficient Chinese set owned by the Sardinian king, Emmanuel Victor II, and according to the remaining part of the anecdote, they have been perfected beyond the original pieces.
The Eszterházy pattern
The name of the Eszterházy family is preserved in the Herend sample of original Chinese ornamentation. There are tiny white flower tussocks and Chinese characters on a reddish-brown background. The copied Chinese porcelain was most probably brought to Hungary by Miklós Eszterházy who served as the ambassador to St. Petersburg.
The ornamentation on the original Chinese object was made using a method similar to that of batik. The pattern was painted on the white, glazed porcelain with melted wax and tallow. The greasy painting material disappeared during burning, leaving behind a beautiful trace of a white pattern on the object.
In Herend, the Eszterházy patterned objects were made by first applying crude red paint, then cleaned the plant ornamentation and characters from it. Finally, the object was burnt. Herend first used this decoration on ornaments of various shapes, giant vases, and bowls made for the reception hall of the Pope’s Eszterházy Castle.
The Gödöllő pattern
In 1867, the Hungarian state bought a castle for the royal couple in Gödöllő which became the most popular Hungarian residence of the royal family. The luncheon set ordered by Emperor Franz Joseph I to Queen Elizabeth is of strong Oriental impression.
The Gödöllő pattern was made after the original Chinese cup using rich additional motifs in the early 1850s. Stylized tree trunks and floral motifs with alternate brick red and colorless column-base bands. The original Chinese pattern was completed using mandarin figures and other fine stylistic modifications.
It is one of the most decorative Chinese style patterns due to the stripes painted with geometric precision. The Gödöllő ornament was later prepared with yellow and black fonds in Herend.
The Rothschild pattern
The Rothschild ornament depicts a nice and harmonious scene with a pair of lovely songbirds sitting on a stylized tree branch and a golden necklace wrapped around the tree branch. It was named after one of the biggest customers, the Rothschild family.
The golden necklace that is part of the pattern might refer to the legendary wealth of the banker family. At the same time, according to a well-loved anecdote in Herend, Baroness Rothschild could not find her valuable necklace but later found it in the garden among the songbirds on the branch. Mór Fischer heard the story who designed the decorative pattern to the memory of the scene.
The Miramare pattern
The Miramare pattern (with the original concept of a Mexican landscape) was made for the tragic fated Mexican Emperor Maximillian, the brother of Franz Joseph I in the mid-19th century. The décor is painted in blue cobalt underglaze.
In the foreground of the pattern, there is a fruit tree rich in fruit and a watchtower-like building part. There is a pagoda in the background with ruins next to it.
The richly gilded and dense garland does not have the impression of overcrowdedness but rather demonstrates the timelessness of porcelain. The set depicts Miramare Castle near Trieste, using the East Asian Imari style color scheme.
The Victoria pattern
One of the oldest and most well-known patterns of the Herend Porcelain Manufacture is the beautiful Victoria. The Far Eastern pattern is made up of almost a hundred butterflies and flowering twigs painted in bright colors.
The surface of the porcelain shining in white is covered in butterflies, flowers, and twigs surrounded by the rich gold contour resembling the green fields.
The Wales patterns
Requiring meticulous handwork, bowls and ornaments made with the so-called Wales patterns need the most technical knowledge. Mór Fischer introduced the unique double-walled openwork technology into Herend in the 1860s. The openwork filigree of the outer wall gives this valuable set light, inimitable appearance.
At the World Exhibition in 1873, Franz Joseph donated a set made with this technique to Edward VII, the Prince of Wales, so that is how it got its name. Both the handles and knobs are remarkably special in design, and so is the low-key but also sophisticated painting.
The Waldstein pattern
The imposing Waldstein décor – one of the oldest compositions of the Herend Porcelain Manufactory – reflects the influence of Far Eastern porcelain art. The central motif of the design is the eye-catching composition of stylized floral motifs surrounded by a geometric-like frame.
The décor got its name after Count Waldstein, who ordered a set decorated with this pattern in 1842. The original set was decorated with the coat of arms and motto of the family – Per laborem et dolorem ad honorem –, and the décor made in five colors is still very popular today.
Mór Fischer presented the German scientist, Alexander von Humboldt with a box of fine porcelain for his 88th birthday. Among them was a set of pink, eggshell-thin, plastic diamond-shaped mesh décor of late-Classicist design, decorated with puttos playing in the clouds in small medallions.
This décor is still called Humboldt. The world-famous naturalist appreciated the gifts in a warm-hearted letter accompanied by a dedicated large-scale photo. Based on this, the factory painted a half-meter porcelain picture of the scientist on a white background with brown and gold colors. The original dedication was also burned in the picture.
The Apponyi pattern
The Apponyi pattern is one of the most sought-after patterns of the manufactory. The pattern itself originated from India. The original pattern consisting of stylized flowers creeping up on the two sides of a basket was enlarged – first in green – for the request of Count Albert Apponyi.
Today there are nine color variants of the pattern. This set is used at the reception in Palace Élysée organized in honor of Franz Joseph during the 1867 World Exhibition in Paris.
Franz Joseph pattern
In 1871, Franz Joseph I ordered table, tea and coffee sets for the Royal Palace of Buda from Herend. The sets were made with three types of ornamentations. To the puritan taste of Franz Joseph I, the set used at representative receptions was painted with modest gold ornamentation.
Each piece of the set features the Hungarian royal crown and the united arabesque-decorated monogram of Franz Joseph I, with the rim of the objects ornamented in stylized enamel underpainted gold laurel branches in narrow gold lines.
The pink pattern of the table set used by the quarter-deck applies the stylized chinoiserie details of the Waldstein ornamentation.
The rim of the plates used by the royal palace staff was painted with narrow purple lines of modest lined ornamentation.
The royal set of modest, thus elegant ornamentation was revived at the turn of the Millennium. In 2001, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the Herend Porcelain Manufactory to prepare a set of dishes for the Hungarian state to host protocol guests at festive occasions.
The design was based on the so-called Franz Joseph pattern by László Horváth. However, in addition to the laurel rim, it is the Hungarian coat of arms that is used instead of the monogram.
Fall and rise
Mór Fischer worked until 1876. He then retired to Tata, where he ran a small ceramic factory, while his sons took over the management of the factory. The Fischer boys, however, did not follow in their father’s artistic footsteps but rather sought financial gain.
Thus, the formerly upward trend of the factory began to decline slowly – both in artistic and economic terms. Despite all the efforts of the Fischer brothers, the factory which had been struggling for eight years had to be sold to a joint-stock company in 1884. The new director, Ferenc Hippmann from the Czech Republic, wanted to reorganize Herend based on the Czech porcelain model.
The artistic standard continued to decline until the factory was closed in 1896. Half a year later, the state offered Mór Fischer’s grandson, Jenő Farkasházy the opportunity to buy the manufactory.
He bought it with mortgages. Jenő Farkasházy, who had previously studied in London, Berlin, and Paris, was already an internationally recognized authority in porcelain manufacturing. During his career, artistic work became the priority again. He started work confidently and with great drive.
1896 is the year of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin, so Jenő Farkasházy did his best to restore his grandfather’s artistic aspirations in the spirit of this anniversary. Preparations for the Millennium re-invigorated Herend. National motifs, gentlemanlike embroidery and the characteristic Hungarian flowers of the forests and the fields appeared. Thanks to Jenő Farkasházy’s artistic skills and the natural talent of the painters working in the factory, the manufactory avoided the excesses of secession.
Jenő Farkasházy became acquainted with special glazing techniques during his travels around Europe and wanted to introduce them in Herend. Soft porcelain glazes and crystal glazes run at the high fire were organically associated with this newly formed technical trend. At the 1900 Paris World Exhibition – which is rightly called the world exhibition of succession – he won gold medals with them.
He also had great success with objects prepared using this technology at the 1900 and 1901 World Exhibitions in Paris and St. Petersburg. The Hungarian expression for the French name means “mass on mass” painting process when painters apply a thin mixture of masses on the skin-hard surface of the pot. The objects are then glazed and burned in the usual way.
Herend Porcelain Manufactory after World War I
During World War I, production fell to a minimum, workers joined the forces and the factory was barely operating. The factory, which was struggling with serious difficulties, became a joint-stock company in 1923. Dr. Gyula Gulden was elected Managing Director. Jenő Farkasházy continued to work as an artistic director until his death in 1926.
Dr. Gyula Gulden was director from 1923 to 1948. In March 1948, the factory was nationalized and taken into public ownership, then – until 1981 – continued its operation as a member of Fine Ceramic Works uniting Hungarian ceramic factories.
Completed in 1926, The allegorical sculpture group called The First Cable, made by György Vastagh Jr: and ordered by Felten-Guillaume Cable Factory in 1926, was created in remembrance of the first media built between London ViennaBudapestConstantinople.
The shape of the News (Rumour) stands over the allegorical figures of the countries as a genius unfolding its wing. The cable factory was intended to give the pathetic porcelain plastic as a gift to the countries where the cable ran through. Originally, it was made in ten copies and after the souvenir became successful, further seventy pieces were ordered by Felten & Guillaume factory, which sent them as presents to different points of the world. The statue group was made in different versions of bisque, glazed porcelain and also colorful paintings on the glaze.
The manufacture found its way again after World War I, in the 1930s. Porcelain plastic only played a little role in the history of the factory. In the first half of the 20th century, several porcelain statues were made according to the fashion and expectations of the time.
Apart from the traditional Herend bowls, coffee, and tea sets, Herend also produced the popular ornaments of bourgeois homes. The manufactory was in contact with almost all the well-known Hungarian craftsmen in the 1930s. Many high-quality plastics were created at that time in the fashion of the period, almost 150 birds and 200 different animal figures came out of the kilns of Herend.
Manufactory during Communism
The industrial design of the 1950s oriented Herend towards mass production. During this troubled period, four directors took the director’s chair one after the other. The Hungarian Workers’ Party led by Mátyás Rákosi supported the factory in the spirit of his own cultural policy.
The party leader’s wife, Fenya Fjodorovna Kornyilova was a Yakut woman who graduated from the Hungarian University of Applied Arts in 1953, specialized in porcelain. She visited the Herend Manufactory between 1953 and 1954 several times. She designed the tea set with the institutions of the five-year plan and the monument of Freedom, and the plate with the naturalistic bird paintings next to it was also made by her.
In the spring of 1954, an exhibition was held for the general public at the University of Applied Arts introducing the broad history of Herend Manufactory. The Parliament Vase – created over several months putting the experts of the manufactory to the test – made for the 115th anniversary of the Parliament was also exhibited here.
The design of the more than two-meter-tall vase was made by the then artistic leader of the manufactory, Tibor Bruck. Three talented painters worked on the paintings for 2500 hours altogether. The vase standing on an openwork base depicts the picture of the Parliament.
On the stenographical picture of the building on the Danube Bank designed by Imre Steindl, there is a line with the ornamentation of the gothic elements of the Parliament building saying “Hazánkban minden hatalom a dolgozó népé” (“All power to the workers”). After the jubilee exhibition, the result of the technical feat was placed in the Dome Hall for 10 years, and it was returned to Herend at the opening of the Museum.
Among the few art deco figures of Herend, we can mention the two Dancers, who reflect airy dance movements in a beautiful way. The most popular pieces of nude statues were made by Elek Lux. The plastics showing the beauties of feminine figures chastely were the elements of gentlemen’s offices and popular pieces of men audience.
In 1981, Herend left Fine Ceramics Works and became an independent company. Four years later, Herend received export trade rights and started building its own market. This year, three designers – László Horváth, Zoltán Takács, and Ákos Tamás – founded Herend Studio. Significant and unique pieces were made in their studios.
From the Change of the Regime until today
László Horváth patterned several new bowls that he did not paint or painted only in a gesture-like way. He introduced the constructional possibilities of porcelain in the late-1990s through personally designed and created examples at the large-scale construction works in Herend.
Zoltán Takács played with the material of porcelain, he preferred ornamentation to functionality.
Ákos Tamás succeeded with his multi-layered, colored organic vases and petal-bowls that he created of extremely thin porcelain plates.
After 1996, designing in Herend was led by Imre Schramel, who was definitely one of the greatest, most excellent ceramists of the country. He designed the porcelain series inspired by the Carnival of Venice perfectly reflecting the whirlwind of ladies and gentlemen in costumes and masks.
Apart from the 25–40cm-tall plastics, Schramel also created one-meter-tall, huge plastics for the same theme. Those being familiar with porcelain production find it obvious how much knowledge and experience is necessary to create such a tall, perfect, fine porcelain statue, still, laymen are fascinated by the sizes.
One of the highlighted masterpieces of the museum is the so-called baptizing pool. The manufactory decided to produce this object in September 2011. Their aim was to put a professional masterpiece to a highlighted point of the museum that represents all three (cast-maker, potter, and painter) professions and the work of the whole Manufactory well.
The prefiguration was the Baptismal font made by Mór Fischer in 1872, which was given as a gift to the Hungarian king Franz Joseph I. The antique piece, which can be found in the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna today, was first introduced in Herend in 2002, during a temporary exhibition.
During the designing phase, they intended to create a double-wall product from 28 pieces in a way that most part of the surface could be decorated.
The ready-made, good-quality white products were continually given to the painters. The workers of the white item production needed 1 year to create the Baptismal font which is 170 cm high and 75 cm wide. It has three main parts: an openwork, double-wall base, a middle openwork element and a lid with a foo dog. Its total weight is 100 kgs.
The visualization of the ornamentation was made by one of the master painters of the manufactory. The theme of the Baptismal font, or vase with a lid, if you like, is the four seasons. The ornamentation is in Oriental style, the conventional enlaced flower on the body is enriched with the details of the great paintings in the cartouche framed by golden scrolls.
The production was made based on the visualization mostly by porcelain painter experts or master painters who had the necessary professional experience. Nine people worked on the ornamentation, sharing different tasks – for example, the drawing of the ornaments, coloring, painting the theme of the four seasons, icing, plating, etc.
The production, from the beginning of the decoration to the assembled product, took 2 months, including the careful, slow-heating burning of the delicate item. The handling of the vase required extra care from everyone who took part in the decoration, transportation, burning, assembling and quality assurance because most of the elements are delicate, heavy parts that need wide space.
People already possessing one…
In 2011 the official wedding present from Hungary to Prince William and Kate Middleton was a masterpiece made by the experts of Herend Manufactory. The 45-piece dinner set is decorated with the Royal Garden ornamentation, the modern version of the well-known Victoria pattern.
The organizers of Formula 1 also thought of the porcelain of Herend first when they decided on the prize of the winners in Hungary. The winner of the race was awarded a vase decorated with the picture of Chain Bridge and the Buda Castle in the sunset. Constructors received a plate 52 cm in diameter, decorated with the same pattern.
The official award supplier of the Hungarian Grand Prix of Red Bull Air Race and the supplier of the World Champion Trophy was also Herend Porcelain Manufactory Zrt. The winners, the kings of air could rise the fierce bird of Herend, the noble bird of the country, the Hungarian turul up high.
Herend Manufactory has been a partner of the oldest and most famous ball of Hungary since 1997. The Homecoming Queen gets a vase with Victoria pattern, while the runner-ups get smaller vases with Rothschild and Apponyi pattern from Herend. Since 2003, the Herend porcelain statue of the Hungarian military general Ernő Kiss is given to the person who has done a lot for the town of Balatonfüred. At the beginning of the ball, ladies wear hearts made of Herend porcelain.
The King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej received a Herend porcelain crest in 1997 in recognition of 50 years on the throne.
Princess Diana, the first wife of Prince Charles, liked Herend porcelain, and bought several pieces of it. She collected the scaled, old Herend patterned figurines as well.
Árpád Göncz took an official visit to the United Kingdom after being invited by Elizabeth II. He gave a Herend figurine as a present, depicting a young lady on horseback, just like the Queen herself.
Saint Martin Award, which was founded by the three founders: Pannonhalma Archabbey, Herend Porcelain Manufactory, and Bábolna National Stud Farm. It is given annually to a person who does a lot to preserve our national heritage and the cultural values of Pannonia.
In 2009, the Hungarian Head of the State gifted a blackcock figurine made of Herend porcelain to the Japanese Prince, Akishino and his wife visiting our country.
In 2007, a figurine portraying Prince Saint Emeric was given to Pope Benedict XIV for his 80th birthday, for the 2nd anniversary of his canonization and for the Year of Saint Emeric in Hungary.
Overdose, the Hungarian “wonder horse” on a porcelain ornament bowl. A present from the Manufactory to the owner of the horse as a sign of their appreciation.
Porcelain, lithophane picture created by László Horváth. This lithophane picture depicts flowers of mallow plants which are being blown by the wind. This masterpiece represents the cultural mission of Herend Porcelain Manufactory, namely that we should spread the values of Herend porcelain all around the world, then we should root these values in the fruitful soil. Since all of us would like to leave our prints for others, for the future.
What the future holds
The Manufactory has received several awards and there are certifications all around the wall. All of them have been won by Herend over time. We are proud of Herend Porcelain Manufactory winning the brightest awards in the most significant exhibitions of the world.
In Herend, we believe that porcelain produced in the Manufactory and not for mass production will be necessary in the future, too, because some kind of stability and constant values are part of high-quality lifestyle and maybe in the age of easily replaceable things, the reflection of the human spirit and handcraft on objects is still seen as a value.
The Mini-manufactory visitor center can be found opposite the Museum, where you can take a look at the secrets of how our wonderful porcelain items are made. In the cinema hall of the Mini-manufactory, you can learn about the phases of manufacturing porcelain that are also shown in practice by our colleagues in the potter and painting workshops.