Accession Nr.: 6542
Date of production:
mid 17th century
Place of production: Besztercebánya (Banská Bystrica)
Materials: clay; faience; fired clay
Techniques: pressed in mould; tin-glazed
Dimensions:
height: 330 cm
width: 113 cm
depth: 116 cm
This blue-and-white patterned stove once stood in a building in Besztercebánya where Prince Ferenc Rákóczi II of Transylvania (1676–1735) is reputed to have lived. Even if the story is not true, the stove was certainly intended to heat and adorn a large room in an aristocratic house in town or country. Its dimensions alone testify to this: standing on limestone legs, divided into two columns, with balustrade and cornice, the body has a height of over three metres. Modelled tiles covered with tin glaze were affordable only by the wealthiest of customers. Very few such stoves could have been made, and it is very fortunate that this beautiful piece has survived completely intact. The Museum of Applied Arts purchased it in 1890 for the then very high price of 106 forints 85 krajcárs. With their relief pattern of stylised plant stems, the tiles, laid side by side, make up a carpet-like pattern. By the nature of the pattern and the blue-and-white tin glaze technique, it is held to be the work of Haban craftsmen. It was probably made in Besztercebánya or the immediate vicinity. In 1888, before being dismantled for removal to Budapest, the architect and painter József Könyöky (1829–1900), corresponding member of the National Historic Buildings Commission, carried out a survey in which he made a detailed drawing of the stove. According to his description, it was still being used for heating. The fire for such stoves was customarily stoked in another room, the smoke being led through a flue in the wall.

Literature

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