The village is in winter-sleep, but here an open gate awaits us. – Where did we arrive?
– We are here at the famous Hungarian Tiles’ Museum, in Erzsébet village, 25 kilometres away from Pécs. where – as you can see – I have the stock of my small business, as I occupy myself with antique tiles. – Would you show it to me?
– Of course. Come in! What an incredible amount of beautiful tiles! Many thousands, ten thousands…, – I haven’t got a clue!
– 35.000 tiles… And where do they come from? They are all old, so they come from demolition projects? Yes. All of them originate from Hungary, mainly from the wider region around Pécs. I stock them here, clean them, and then hopefully they will be laid in some new place later. I’ll show you one: a tile consists mostly of concrete, but the beautiful coloured layer makes up the upper 2, 3 mm. And they are very strong and very hard. József Walla produced an enormous quantity of tiles in old Hungary, he had a huge factory in Budapest, and also in other provincial cities. He published catalogues, from which his clients were able to make their choice.
For example: tile pattern number 104, combined with number 24. They could order what they liked best. Very special these tiles! These were laid according to your own fantasy? Yes. This combination of terracotta with concrete tiles is not an old, traditional thing, it is something I thought out, but I think it looks very good these two different materials together. And then the art historian in you popped up, and you founded a museum here in the attic. What is the story behind it? Like everything that happens in my life, it was a coincidence: I started to occupy myself with antique tiles in 1996, and very soon I discovered how many different kinds there were, how many different patterns, how many different colours. So from the start I put a few tiles of every new pattern and colour apart, just didn’t sell them,
so that with the years my collection grew bigger and bigger, without me taking really notice. Then on a spring day somewhere in the year 2000, I rediscovered on a few dusty pallets all those old tiles and thought: what’s that again? Then I took a better look at them, and suddenly realized that I had put together a big collection, just by chance. And I understood that it was interesting enough to make a museum out of it all. That was the moment the idea was born, but only three years later the realisation of that dream came about,
when we celebrated the opening of the Tiles’ Museum with a big party! The Hungarian Tiles’ Museum: www.panharmonia.com