1. Esterházy Palace
  2. Dyer in blue museum
  3. Calvinist Collection of Pápa
  4. Spa Pápa / Várkertfürdő

The history and techniques of ‘kékfestés’

The predecessor of ‘kékfestés’ was textile dyeing and textile printing, the technologies having been present from the 16th century.  The so-called festőcsüllenger (Isatis tinctoria) , the indigenous dyeing plants being grown in huge areas in Thuringia and France, were used to get the colour of blue.

The indigo (Isatis indigofera) was taken from India during the geographical discoveries in the 17th century.  The colouring material produced from the colouring plant is fadeless, more concentrated and has better quality so its usage has spread quickly in cloth and linen dyeing.

At that time, due to the geographical discoveries the patterned eastern clothes appeared in bulk in Europe alongside with the cloth dyeing technics called reserve printing.  ‘Perzellan Druck’ meant the blue-white colour effect of the porcelain similarly to the reserve printing kékfestés in the 18th century.  The expression of kékfestés appeared in the correspondence of István Bengely first in the 1770s.

The production of kékfestés consists of two work phases: the first one is the pattering with the insulating mass and the second one is the dyeing in cold indigocsáva.  The insulating mass, the so-called ‘priest’, was put onto the pre-prepared white linen with the help of famintázó (English: wood pattern) (in other words nyomódúc) as a first step.  After being dried it closed the patterned surface from the paint.  After that the cloth was dipped into the festőcsáva made from the mixture of indigo, lime, iron vitriol and water.  After the cloth was drawn into the air it became oxidised indigo blue.  The different shades of the blue cloth are the results of several immersions and airings.  The insulating mass was soaked from the linen prepared in this way was in acid bath and then the blue colour was fixed.  The final result was the beautiful cloth patterned with white (in some cases colourful) on blue base.