Herend Porcelain

Engelbert Pfárer


"Uncle Berci"

A retired master known to everyone in porcelain city as Uncle Berci, and that has always been the case.

This title was bestowed upon him in those days not out of respect for his age but rather in recognition of his professional expertise, humanity and helpfulness towards young and old alike.

He was born in 1929 in Vaslőd, a village near Herend. He went to Herend in 1943 and, passing a 10-day probation period, became an apprentice. His teacher, János Bachstädt, apparently saw his talent for painting.

He spent eight hours a day in the painting studio and three afternoons a week he had formal lessons in school. The painters' training classes today still the set the same drawing tasks that he struggled with back then. The practical training was ample and varied. After the basics, they started to learn painting the Victoria pattern, then came the simpler floral patterns, followed by Rothschild and various fruit patterns. After four years of training, he and eight others passed their master's examination in 1947.

There was a family atmosphere at the factory in those days. There were about 300 people working there in all. About 70 of them were porcelain painters. The factory had to close for three months during the Second World War, but production soon started again after the war.

He caught the eye of his superiors in 1960 and became a foreman. Even then, quality was becoming an increasingly important factor, so quality control during the production process was his most important task. He took the first steps towards setting up the paint laboratory. After modifying the technology of firing painted décors, he was given the job of supervising the development of special patterns.

He was given the Outstanding Worker title on several occasions and once even received a state award. He was already retired when he received the manufactory's Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2001 the Jubilee Prize, commemorating the 175th anniversary of the foundation of the manufactory. He still keeps in touch with the life of the manufactory and cares about what goes on there. He is one of the masters who is still revered by younger, still active colleagues and a man who can look back on a career and life lived in the Herend traditions.

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