The Herend Porcelain Manufactory, founded in 1826 in the town of Herend in the Balaton Highlands, is Hungary's best-known luxury brand worldwide. During its almost 200 years of existence, more than 16,000 shapes and 4,000 samples were dreamed up in the factory, i.e., they can make 64 million different porcelain products.
As the factory's products quickly gained great popularity, almost the entire Hungarian aristocracy began to order from them. Even the Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia, Franz Joseph turned to them on numerous occasions when he wanted to give a tableware as a gift, so Herend porcelain was gifted to not only Hofburg in Vienna but the Russian, Italian and Romanian courts. Of course, the factory thus received the title of Imperial and Royal Warrant holder, and its owner at the time, Mór Fischer, was granted nobility by the monarch. The Herend Manufactory has represented the country at many prestigious exhibitions over the centuries; perhaps the most significant of these was the 1851 World Exhibition in London, since it was here that the company's most famous model got its name: the Victoria. Queen Victoria also visited the expo, and a colourful, butterfly-and-flower motif at Herend's stand piqued her interest. She immediately ordered a set, and the brand named it after her. And this is how Herend became the link between the Hungarian state and the British royal family, because Hungary presented Herend tableware as an official gift on different occasions; for example, as a wedding gift to Prince William and Princess Catherine, and on the occasion of the birth of their two older children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. This is how, if they want, they can set the table in Kensington Palace with Herend porcelain, precisely with a modified version of the Victoria pattern. The pieces decorated with the peony-butterfly motif, named Royal Garden, can, of course, be purchased in many luxury stores or department stores around the world, even in brand stores in Budapest, with the difference being that the top of the teapot can be lifted by holding a porcelain butterfly. The Manufactory only sells the top with a crown to members of the Windsor family.
Those who want to know how the Manufactory got from the original Victoria-patterned porcelain to the Royal Garden motifs can see it in the display case decorating the Herend Suite of the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus upon prior registration.
Today, Herend is considered one of the most important porcelain manufactories in the world. In addition to Hungary, they also have brand stores in Abu Dhabi, Athens and Zagreb; however, the most important Herend store is the Palais Herend, which is within walking distance of Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest. The product range of the three-story showroom on József nádor Square is worth more than 1.3 million euros, which means that you can choose from a lot of beauties here if the goal is to find the perfect gift. In addition to the shopping experience, you can also try your dexterity here! Locals can paint porcelain plates, but they also thought of travellers, for whom they offer making porcelain roses as part of an individual session.
In the special VIP programme put together for Kempinski guests, interested parties not only can make a rose but are personally guided through the flagship store, followed by coffee or tea, of course, in Herend porcelain, and at the end, the guest leaves with a Herend gift.
Our special tip: walk to the brand's nearby store on Andrássy út and admire the huge, hand-painted porcelain figurines in the window.
Our guest writer, the Budapest Curator by Kempinski Corvinus: Balázs Pécsi, publisher of The Gentleman's Review luxury & society magazine