The iconic Hungarian art pottery of Zsolnay :
For 158 years, the iconic Hungarian company of Zsolnay has been producing innovative and high quality ceramic wares. What started as a small family ceramics workshop in Pécs in 1853 had grown into a modern factory by the 1880’s, thanks to Vilmos Zsolnay’s long decades of painstaking and dedicated experimentation. Founding father Miklós Zsolnay originally established the first manufacturing shop of ceramics for his son Ignác. In 1863 the younger son Vilmos took control and expanded into a factory production.
The Zsolnay Porcelain Manufactory
The factory’s first major success was reached at the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna. On the basis of its product displays, the factory received a great number of orders from England, France, Russia, and even from America. By the 1870’s the the Zsolnay family rapidly became well-known and highly appreciated in Europe, and the business employed 20 workers.
The family were perceptive and their experimental nature in historical and Art Nouveau styles made the Zsolnay ceramics successful at many fairs and exhibitions (Vienna, Paris, London, Milan, Torino, California US). The success achieved during the 1878 World Exhibition in Paris was tremendous. The jury praised the Zsolnay collection as being unique and gave it the gold medal, the so-called Grand Prix. Numerous buildings belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy were also decorated with Zsolnay tiles. Prior to the 1890s, the company produced ornate pieces inspired by Islamic pierced wares and traditional Hungarian wares. It was not until 1893, when Vilmós appointed the chemist Vincse Wartha as artistic director, that Zsolnay began to specialize in Art Nouveau-inspired ceramics with crystalline metallic glazes.
Zsolnay fountain in Pecs
The most famous invention of the factory was the creation of ‘eosin”, a metallic shiny glaze on ceramics. . Their technique of firing glazes at high temperatures remains unique even today.
The Zsolnay production suffered many hardships during the 2 World Wars from problems sourcing materials to having to abandon artistic production for the creation of electrical insulators and the like. Along with being bombed in the WW2. The incoming Communist Regime , although recognizing it as a National Treasure , were very restrictive to overseas markets.
After Vilmos Zsolnay’s death, in 1900, his son Miklós took over the management and at the end of 1991 the factory was upgraded . In 1995 the business was privatised and the main owner was the Hungarian Investment and Development Bank (MBFB) . The new owner set a goal of preserving the historically significant, long tradition of Zsolnay and making a profitable plant without changing the product structure.
The Zsolnay factory today still pursues innovative design and permits designers to conceive beautiful pieces that explore modern expression and utilize their earlier technical and stylistic achievements with organic shapes and metallic glazes. It has also revitalized the company’s tradition of creating architectural ceramics with the production of vividly colored weather-resistant tiles and ornamentation, from statues to decorative clocks , examples of which can still been seen on buildings throughout Hungary.
Hand painted Zsolnay vase with botanical decoration
Vase Zsolnay Museum
( John & Rico’s Zsolnay Store )
The Viennese Rothschilds commissioned the company to make a tea service and sent an illustrated book on orchids for the design, which featured a different orchid for every piece in the 24 set.
Zsolnay vase with eosin iridescent glaze
Zsolnay 60’s inspired Vase
Red Zsolnay Planter
Art Nouveau vase with pewter
Zsolnay Pitcher 1918 ( John And Rico’s )
Zsolnay multiple handle vase
Zsolnay Art Nouveau vase
Zsolnay metallic glaze ewer
Zsolnay butterfly vessel
Zsolnay red tulip
Zsolnay Art Nouveau vessel
Zsolnay Art Nouveau cachepot.
John & Rico’s Zsolnay Store
Zsolnay iridescent glaze vase
‘Thinking’ – Zsolnay contemporary sculpture
Mid Century Zsolnay Pitcher
Zsolnay ceramics vase with hunting scenes of Diana the Huntress
Zsolnay Manufactory gardens
Zsolnay Fruit Bowl
Zsolnay coiled python sculpture
Zsolnay Table Lamp with Green Taurus Figurine
Zsolnay centrepiece with four female figurine supports
Zsolnay Art Nouveau iridescent glaze vase
Unusual Zsolnay eosin glaze figure sculpture
Art Nouveau mermaid and lover vase – Zsolnay
Turquoise mottled surface vase – Zsolnay
Zsolnay Esoin Three Graces figure vessel