The history of the zsolnay factory
The works of the factory between the end of the 1870’and the end of the 1880’s were characterised by an eclectic mix of styles and brilliant technical solutions.
The Zsolnay factory’s first important recognition was achieved at the world exhibition in Vienna in 1873, which had a decisive impact on the factory’s future.
The production of unique luxury items commenced; for which white ware, suitable for colourful decorations and high temperature refined stoneware.
The first designs were inspired by garden flowers, far away landscapes, folk-art motifs, and Egyptian antique forms; but old Hungarian motifs such as the pomegranate, and Turkish also appeared.
At the 1873 world exhibition in Vienna, Vilmos Zsolnay was awarded the order of Franz Joseph, and he also won the bronze medal and a certificate of merit. Zsolnay ceramics received a great number of orders from England, France, Russia, and America.
The World Exhibition in Paris in 1878 was an important milestone in the factory’s history; as a result of undiminished experimentation, richly decorated, shiny, high temperature, shrinking, cracking and smeared glazes were invented. The success was tremendous: the Zsolnay ceramics were awarded the gold medal, the so-called “Grand Prix”, and Vilmos Zsolnay was made a member of the Legion of Honour. Thank to the exhibition, regular relationships with foreign partners were established.
In the world exhibition held in Sydney in 1879-80 and in Melbourne in 1880-81, pieces were displayed that were made with new techniques such as the cloth of gold technique and the metal technique. In the world exhibition in Chicago in 1893, the eosin technique was introduced amid great prestige, and later the production of Art Nouveau pieces began.