Jewish Heritage of Herend

Temporary exhibition 29th October 2018 - 29th April 2019

The Herend Porcelain Manufactory served as an important venue for the process of embourgeoisement of Hungarian Jewry. Vince Stingl founded the forerunner of Herend Porcelain Manufactory in 1826 as an earthenware factory, but Herend flourished and rose to international fame under the leadership of Mór Fischer.

Mór Fischer hailed from a Jewish family.  He tried to counter his disadvantaged origin by making excellent quality porcelain measured by international standards. At that time it was almost impossible to replace broken pieces and supply old, classical porcelain dinner-sets; so initially Fischer was selling his wares to the Hungarian aristocracy, reproducing old, valuable porcelain patterns to complement missing pieces of tableware. Herend displayed its designs at  a number of international industrial exhibitions winning not only professional recognition but  also orders on behalf of several royal courts. In appreciation of his work in porcelain art, he received a noble title in 1867. Herend did not only produce decorative tableware for the aristocracy, they also created beautiful porcelain ceremonial objects for the Jewish communities. Seder plates with different ornamentations are treasured in Hungarian museums as a material evidence. Additionally to the ceremonial objects of the Seder, Herend made also cups and chalices with Hebrew inscription. According to 19th century ledgers of the Manufactory, the Chief Rabbis of Kaposvár, Székesfehérvár, Eisenstadt, as well as German Rabbi Dr. Samson Raphael Hirsch and Dr. Nathan Marcus Adler, Rabbi in London each acquired a cup in the O’Sullivan pattern in the 1860s. Mór’s endeavors were carried on by one of his sons, Vilmos, who opened up shop in Cluj-Kolozsvár and painted several Judaica objects in his manufactory. The majority of his products were handpainted in the so-called Cubash pattern. He was the founder of the Neolog congregation in Kolozsvár. He and wife gave many charitable donations. The legacy of Mór Fischer de Farkasházy is alive at the Manufactory, and as part of the new Judaica Collection, mezuzahs and dreidels are also available in Herend porcelain.