Herend Porcelain Manufactory
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The Herend Porcelain Manufactory (Hungarian: Herendi Porcelánmanufaktúra Zrt.) is a Hungarian manufacturing company, specializing in luxury hand painted and gilded porcelain. Founded in 1826, it is based in the town of Herend near the city of Veszprém.
In the mid-19th century it was purveyor to the Habsburg Dynasty and aristocratic customers throughout Europe. Many of its classic patterns are still in production.
After the fall of Communism in Hungary the factory was privatised and is now 75% owned by its management and workers. As of 2006, the factory is profitable and exports to over 60 countries of the world. Its main markets are Italy, Japan, Russia and the US.
The factory at Herend was founded in 1826 by Vince Stingl as an earthenware pottery manufacturing factory, but also he had been carrying out research experiments on porcelain making. Stingl ran out of funds and subsequently went bankrupt, his creditor Mór Fischer took control of the factory in 1839. The new owner of the manufactory, Mór Fischer, being very ambitious and having new ideas, started artistic porcelain manufacturing in the same year. At that time it was almost impossible to replace broken pieces and supply old, classical porcelain dinner-sets from the Far East and from Europe, but Mór Fischer's efforts met the support of the Hungarian aristocracy already in 1840.
The artistic demand, the effort of manufacturing the first true pieces in Herend succeeded in a very short time. The First Hungarian Applied Art Exhibition, the Vienna Exhibition in 1845, the Great Exhibition in London, 1851, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York, 1853 and the Exposition Universelle in Paris, 1855, brought the highest appreciation for Herend. This appreciation appears in the orders made on behalf of several royal courts (Queen Victoria, Francis Joseph I of Austria, Maximillian, Mexican emperor etc.).
The name of well-known patterns refer to the first customers (Queen Victoria, Esterházy, Batthyány, Rothschild, Apponyi). In 1865 Francis Joseph I gave noble title to Mór Fischer, appreciating his results and work in porcelain art. From 1872 Mór Fischer Farkasházy, Purveyor to the Royal Court, was entitled to use the shapes and patterns of the Manufactory of Vienna, which had closed down. That was the first golden age of Herend.
In 1874 Mór Fischer gave the management of the manufactory to his sons. After this, the level of production started to decline, due to repressing the artistic aspects. The factory had several owners, and went almost bankrupt as a result of withdrawing from the artistic aspects. Development came only at the end of the century, when the grandson of the founder, Jenő Farkasházy, became the owner of the factory, who was a trained ceramist, who gained experience in foreign factories and wanted to follow the founder's concepts. Having excellent taste, he gave new life to traditions and in addition, introduced novelties in 1900 Paris and 1901 St. Petersburg.
Between the two world wars, limited reproduction of traditional products, from the age of Mór Fischer, was continued. Hungarian figures were also manufactured, after the work of the best Hungarian sculptors.
In 1948 the company was nationalised. In 1993 it was privatised, and 75% is now owned by the management and workers.
After cleaning, decorating and drying, it is first fired at 830 degrees Celsius. The fired pieces are then immersed in a glaze and fired again, this time at 1410 degrees Celsius. This results in white, translucent porcelain. At this stage it is ready for painting by hand and then, depending whether it has been painted with colours or with gold, it is finished off with one or two more firings.
The design artists, potters, painters and modellers add the value that has won this porcelain 24 grand and gold prizes in world exhibitions between 1851 and 1937. Perhaps the most well known Herend pattern was presented at the London World Exhibition in 1851, the Chinese-style butterflies and flowery branches painted in joyful, lively colours. The British Queen, Victoria, ordered a dinner set with its gold medal-winning pattern for Windsor Castle. Hence the pattern's name "Viktória".
The Herend Porcelain Manufactory was purveyor to the Habsburg Dynasty and the aristocracy, both in Hungary and abroad. The factory consciously preserves traditions and therefore the quality of Herend Porcelain is consistent.
The company operates the Porcelain Museum of Herend at its site. The museum opened to visitors in 1964 and was chosen as the museum of the year 2002 in Hungary. The Museum presents the history of and the technology used by the Herend porcelain factory and working displays take visitors through the entire process of creating Herend porcelain.
- Csany, K. Geschichte der ungarischen Keramik, der Porzellane und ihre Marken (Budapest, 1954)
- Herend Porcelain Manufactory. Herend: Traditional Craftsmanship in the 20th Century (1992) ISBN 978-963-8155-05-4
- Sikota, Győző. Herend: Manufaktur der ungarischen Porzellankunst (Budapest, Corvina, 1982)