October 3, 2013
One of the leading and most luxurious exports from Hungary is the beautiful
hand-painted and gilded porcelain from the Herend company. There are multiple
porcelain manufacturers in Hungary but none have the renown and quality of
Herend and my mother Marta was keen to show off to my sister Michele, Kathy and
myself the incredible Herend factory and museum.
The factory is located about 45 minutes away from Budapest in the small town
of Herend and is a popular tourist destination due to the award winning museum
and factory tours that exhibit just how the incredible porcelain is created. We
hired a taxi to take us for the day and headed off in to the country to see the
in 1826, in Herend near the city of Veszprem. In the mid-19th century it was
purveyor to the Hapsburg 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
porcelain is made from a hard paste using a mixture of Kaolin, feldspar and
quartz. 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 colors or with
gold, it is finished off with one or two more firings.
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 colors.
factory tour goes through the painstaking and delicate process used to create
the incredible porcelain products. Perfection is the standard that they strive
for with each piece and if a piece is not deemed perfect it is tossed aside. The tour finishes at the equally impressive
gift shop where the porcelain is for sale and there is also a museum on hand
that displays some of the most incredible porcelain you will ever see. I have
never considered myself a nig porcelain fan, but it was very impressive.
Michael & Michele
the way back to Budapest, we stopped at the small resort town of Tihany, which
is on the banks of the beautiful Lake Balaton, actually at the end of a small peninsula.
The lake, which is the largest in Hungary and one of the largest fresh water
lakes in Europe is a popular resort destination for Hungarians and tourists
alike who flock to “The Balaton” for fun and relaxation.
small city of Tihony thus has the same sort of feel as the Catskills in the US,
very resort driven and touristy, yet beautiful and serene at the same time.
Small gift shops and boutiques share the tight spaces with beautiful historic churches
and buildings creating a funky mix with something for just about everyone. There
is even a small version of the “Conch Train” there to give tourists quick tours
of the area.
we did get back to Budapest, Kathy, Brian and I took an hour long boat tour of
the Danube at night, which provided beautiful, if somewhat chilly views of the
spectacular Budapest skyline at night. It is truly a lovely and worthwhile trip
to make and it capped off yet another spectacular day in Hungary.