My Way of Telling History
MY WAY OF TELLING HISTORY
THE HISTORY OF THE PALACE OF SCHÖNBRUNN
The history of Schönbrunn goes back to the Kattermühle (Gattermühle) and the beginning of the 14th century, at a time when the large vineyards and properties between the villages of Hietzing, Penzing and Meidling, on the flat banks of the Vienna River, belonged to the monastery of Klosterneuburg.
The Kattermühle (Katter Mill), a watermill, was situated on the so-called Mühlbach (Mill Stream) on the site of the present building. The Mühlbach was an open artificial stream that was later routed through a bricked underground tunnel. This tunnel is still situated underneath what is now called the Lichte Allee.
During the first Ottoman siege of Vienna considerable damage was done to the villages of Hietzing and Penzing which were situated near to the Kattermühle. The mill itself, the estate and its outbuildings were destroyed and the Kattermühle was henceforth referred to as the Katterburg (Gatterburg).
The name Katterburg (Katter-Castle) definitely gives the impression of a fortified building although the available information never describes the Katterburg as being such.
In 1548 Hermann Bayr (Bayer), who later became the Mayor of Vienna, purchased the Katterburg estate, and converted the main building into a manor.
In 1569 Maximilian II bought the large and mainly wooded estate, which was ideal for the breeding of native game and fowl. Later he extended the manor, the outbuildings, stables, gardens and orchards. The development of the estate continued over the following decades making the Katterburg into a large hunting lodge and a residence with gardens and a deer park. The Vienna Woods surrounding the Katterburg were ideal for hunting sprees and the wooded hill, the so-called Gatterholz (Gatter-Wood) was used as an enclosure for game.
Around the year 1612 the Emperor Mathias used the estate for hunting. Mathias remained childless and subsequently had to choose his cousin Ferdinand as successor to the throne.
The Emperor Ferdinand II and his wife used the Katterburg for hunting sprees and they adored the pleasures of the extensive estate especially for riding and hunting game. After Ferdinand's death in 1637, his widow Eleonora von Gonzaga resided in the Katterburg for many years, developing the Katterburg into a magnificent residence where she could entertain guests and enjoy her social life. In 1642 the building was to become known as Schönbrunn.
The Legend of the Schöner Brunnen
According to legend Mathias found a natural spring in the woods near to the Katterburg and was so overwhelmed by the taste of the spring water, saying “Oh, what a beautiful spring” (beautiful spring = schöner Brunnen).
The water from this ‘beautiful spring’ was thereafter used to supply the court needs and eventually gave the estate its new name, Schönbrunn.
The truth behind the legend is less spectacular and dates back to the first well house that was built on this site, which was known as ‘Schöner Brunnen’ - the beautiful well. The name is most probably a reference to the design and splendour of the original well-house that was replaced by a new building in 1771. The ‘new’ Schöner Brunnen is dominated by the figure of Egeria holding a vase under her arm from which she pours the spring water that was once so cherished by the Viennese court.
During the second siege of Vienna, the Ottomans destroyed many of the buildings in the estate of Schönbrunn. Leopold I then commissioned the Austrian baroque architect Fischer von Erlach to design and build an Imperial residence for his son Joseph.
In 1688 Fischer von Erlach presented the Emperor the first plans for the new residence and commenced building in 1696.
The residence was partly built on the existing foundations of the Katterburg, which had earlier been destroyed by the Ottomans.
In 1700 the central section of the residence was completed and ready to move into, but further building was delayed due to the War of the Spanish Succession and the Emperor's financial situation.
Joseph I was the first Emperor to live in this building.
After the war of the Spanish Succession Joseph’s brother Karl became the next in line for the throne.
In 1728 Karl VI acquired the residence, which he used for hunting sprees. He later signed over the estate to his daughter Maria Theresia. She was very fond of Schönbrunn and preferred it to other residences such as the Favorita or Klosterneuburg.
During the following years her father Karl VI transferred his interests to the monastery of Klosterneuburg and was concentrating on the alterations to the Gothic monastery. The Emperor tried to convert the monastery into a copy of the Spanish ‘Escorial’. This ‘Austrian Escorial’ was never completed.
In 1740, Maria Theresia appointed Nikolaus Pacassi to the position of Court architect. A new era began and building commenced.
Extensive changes to the inner courtyards and the rebuilding of the east wing of Schönbrunn were undertaken.
The ‘new’ Kapellenstiege (Chapel-Staircase) gave access to the first floor, which was adequately restored and refurbished for the nobility and referred to as the ‘Nobelétage’ (Nobel Floor).
After 1746, the façade of Schönbrunn was slowly changing. The ‘Rampe’ (ramp) or exterior stairway that gave access to the Nobelétage was removed and replaced with a smaller, more delicate Rococo staircase.
The main Galleries on the first floor (Nobelétage) were completely demolished and rebuilt, forming one large Gallery (Great Gallery) and a smaller more intimate Gallery with its windows overlooking the extensive Baroque gardens. The former dining room (Kleiner Saal) was converted into a staircase (Blue Staircase) to provide a new entrance to the Nobelétage.
The original ceiling frescoes by Sebastiano Ricci from 1702/03 were preserved and together with certain other details such as the marble door frames (Untersberg marble) and still show the heavy baroque influence of the original residence.
Nikolaus Pacassi was obliged to extend his plans to make room to accommodate the, by now, increasing size of the Imperial family. A ‘new’ floor was inserted between the first and second floors to serve as the apartments and rooms for the use of the Imperial Court. The side wings of the Palace were adjoined to the outbuildings along the side of the courtyard to accommodate high-ranking officers and servants.
Schönbrunn had become an Imperial Residence and therefore further outbuildings had to be built to give a large number of small living quarters for servants and staff.
The Schlosstheater (Palace Theatre) was completed by 1747 and it enabled the Imperial Family to enjoy the shows, as well as take an active part in theatrical and operatic performances.
The two ‘new’ galleries were completed and Albert Bolla finished his elaborate stucco-work decorations in 1762. The Italian artist Gregorio Guglielmi then further adorned these rooms with his magnificent frescoed ceilings between 1760 and 1763.
The rooms to the south, facing the gardens, were completed with Rococo decorations, enhanced with mirrors, paintings and porcelain (chinoiserie).
Following the death of her beloved husband in 1765, Maria Theresia altered and refurbished the rooms in the East Wing of the Palace. Franz Stephan's Study was made into a memorial room and decorated with dark wall panelling and black Chinese lacquer works and is therefore called the Vieux-Laque-Room (The Old Lacquer Room).
In 1769 Johann Wencel Bergl was appointed to decorate the rooms on the ground floor with paintings of exotic landscapes which he completed in 1777.
Canvas was mounted onto the walls enabling the artist to conceal the rising damp that had previously defeated any attempt to decorate the rooms.
In the latter part of her life Maria Theresia was able to use the cooler Bergl Rooms on the ground floor during the hot days of summer.
Schönbrunn was at the centre of European politics during the reign of Franz II/I.
Napoleon occupied Vienna in 1805 and again in 1809 and used Schönbrunn as his headquarters.
Austria defeated Napoleon at the battle of Aspern in May 1809, but suffered a major military defeat at the battle of Wagram in July of the same year and was forced to sign the Treaty of Schönbrunn in October 1809.
In 1814-15, after the Napoleonic Wars, representatives of nearly all the European powers attended the Congress of Vienna with the intention of re-establishing the political and territorial borders of Europe. This led to a hasty refurbishing of the rooms of the Palace of Schönbrunn for the coming occasion.
The exterior decorations of Schönbrunn underwent many changes between 1817 and 1819 when court architect Johann Aman removed a great deal of the original Baroque and Rococo decorations from the façade. This considerably changed the appearance of the Palace and gave it the look that we know today.
The colour scheme of the façade was a contrasting combination of two different shades of very light coloured greys (green-grey and stone-grey).
Franz Joseph moved into the West Wing of the Palace and had his private apartments completely refurbished and redecorated. In preparation for his marriage to Elisabeth in 1854 some of the existing apartments needed to be re-designed to accommodate his future wife. After their marriage and the birth of their first children some of the rooms on the ground floor were completely restored and became apartments for Gisela and Rudolph.
The Great Gallery and the Small Gallery were extensively restored during the mid-19th century. The original stucco and imitation marble from the time of Maria Theresia was replaced with new elaborate gold stucco-decorations and the walls were given a polished white lead finish.
The Small Gallery was again restored in the year 2000 and the Great Gallery in 2012. This gave the administration of Schönbrunn the opportunity to change the old, soon forbidden light-bulbs with modern LED-lighting.
During the reign of Franz Joseph, the colour scheme of the façade was changed again, and two different shades of yellow were used for the first time. This combination of light and dark yellows later became referred to as ‘Schönbrunn Yellow’, which became a very popular choice of colours for villas and representative buildings throughout the empire.
At the end of the monarchy the palace passed into the ownership of the Republic of Austria and was administered by the Schlosshauptmannschaft Schönbrunn.
As early as 1936, during the 1st Republic of Austria, Schönbrunn was divided into two sections. The area behind the Gloriette was taken away from the rest of Schönbrunn and used as a site for the building of a large complex, the ‘Dollfuß (Gedächtnis) Führerschule’ (Dollfuss Memorial Elite School). The youth of Austria, both boys and girls, were to be brought up in the way of the authoritarian government of the first Republic and trained as Youth-Leaders.
After the annexation of Austria (Anschluss) by the German Third Reich, the Kaserne Wien-Schönbrunn, later Fasangarten-Kaserne, and now known as the Maria-Theresien-Kaserne, was completed. This made Schönbrunn a legitimate target for the allied bombers during the Second World War.
After the annexation of Austria by the German Third Reich, Schönbrunn was placed under the control of the newly formed centralised ‘Verwaltung der Schlösser’ (Palace Administration Office).
In 1939, at the start of the Second World War, the outbuildings of the Palace (Hofküchentrakt and Stables) were used for the storage of wheat. The Imperial Apartments were open to all the public except Jews, who were not even allowed to enter the grounds of the Palace.
As the war progressed it became very difficult to maintain the Palace (Wehrpflicht - compulsory military service). Towards the end of 1943 tours were no longer possible due to lack of staff. The valuable contents of the Imperial Apartments were removed in 1943 and stored for safe-keeping in the cellars of the Hofburg or, like many other works of art belonging to the museums of Vienna, in the salt mines at Hallein and Altaussee - in Salzburg, Styria and *Oberdonau.
* The term ‘Oberdonau’ was used during the Ostmark (1938-1945) and roughly corresponds to Upper Austria.
The cultural highlights during the war years were in the form of KdF-Concerts (Kraft durch Freude) held in the main courtyard (Ehrenhof) and in the gardens on the south side of the Palace. Many events, such as balls and receptions, took place in the reception rooms and the Great Gallery of the Palace. Schönbrunn was also used for the making of films such as ‘Tanz mit dem Kaiser’ and ‘Wiener Mädeln’.
During the war Schönbrunn Zoo ‘Tiergarten’ suffered greatly as it was unable to supply sufficient food for its animals and could no longer import exotic animals from overseas. This together with the air raids led to an enormous reduction in the number of animals in the zoo between 1938 and 1945.
Towards the end of 1944 Schönbrunn became a target for allied bombers. The Little Gloriette was damaged and several bombs destroyed the swimming pool and other buildings in that area of the park.
In February 1945 the ‘Gardetrakt’ (Guards Wing) next to the main gate was destroyed during one of these raids. The main building was also hit. Fortunately the bomb failed to explode, but it tore an enormous twenty-five metre hole in the centre of the building adjacent to the ‘Ovalstiege’ (Oval Staircase) and became wedged between the ceiling fresco of the Great Gallery and the floor above it.
Two days later another heavy air raid left 269 bomb craters. Most of the bombs fell into the park leaving the outbuildings in ruins. The ‘Kavaliertrakt’ (Cavalry Wing), the Restaurant, the east side of the Gloriette, the large ‘Palmenhaus’ (Palm House) and ‘Sonnenuhrhaus’ (Sundial House) were all badly damaged. The Zoo was also hit, but fortunately most of the historical buildings in the old ‘Menagerie’ remained intact. During this raid the Palace Theatre was slightly damaged.
After the allies entered Vienna, Russian Forces took control of Schönbrunn and installed their General-Command in the main offices of the Zoo (Tiergartenverwaltung). The Russian Commander helped to solve the problems of the Zoo by supplying much needed food for the few remaining animals.
Vienna was divided into five military sectors. The inner city was the so-called international sector, the administration of which changed once a month from one of the allied powers to the other.
Later, in September 1945, the British High-Command moved into the Palace, using the first floor (Reception rooms) and other rooms on the ground floor together with some of the outbuildings, as their headquarters. The British General-Staff and a division of the British armed forces needed accommodation, so in July 1945 some of the tenants received notice to quit their rooms.
An airfield was constructed on the then football field in front of the main building (APCOA Car Park).
Throughout the following years, whilst the Palace was occupied by the British Forces, the Imperial Apartments and Reception Rooms remained closed to the general public.
Repairs to Schönbrunn began soon after the war. The main building was immediately restored but it took until the 1950s to complete the outbuildings.
During the years 1945-1975 the enormous sum of 400 million Austrian Schilling was spent on the rebuilding and refurbishment. The Federal Ministry of Trade and Reconstruction (Bundesministerium für Handel und Wiederaufbau) carried the responsibility for Schönbrunn Palace during this time.
The British Military Tattoo in Schönbrunn 1946
The word Tattoo is derived from the Dutch “Doe den tap toe” (Turn off the taps). The British army military signal ‘Tattoo’ was a drum beat late each evening, which was a signal to soldiers that they should return to the barracks in time for ‘Last Post’ and ‘Lights Out’, and the beer taps in the taverns should be turned off. This slowly developed into a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands.
In recent years the parades have become well-known due to events such as the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo which is held in Edinburgh Castle and attended by some 200 000 visitors each year.
The British Army has always held Tattoos, usually in London, where they can perform, show their expertise and attract large crowds of visitors.
The Parade has changed over the centuries from the Fyffes and Drums in the days of Oliver Cromwell to the Regimental Bands, particularly the Brigade of Guards, who perform all over the world.
In 1946 a British Charity Parade took place in the main gardens of Schönbrunn Palace. This so-called Searchlight Military Tattoo climaxed with a large firework display.
The amount raised was more than 400 000 Austrian Schilling, which was presented to the major of Vienna, Theodor Körner. This money enabled the city of Vienna to finance a six-week holiday for 2 400 children at a holiday resort.
The British continued holding similar activities for the benefit of children in the following years.
Mr. Tom Canning remembers:
Resumé of a letter which I received from Mr. Tom Canning an ex-serviceman, who was stationed in Schönbrunn and took part in the Tattoo.
The Tattoo in Schönbrunn was held between the 24th and 29th June, 1946.
The first rehearsals took place in Althofen(Carinthia). A stagecoach was built by the fitters and test driven through the narrow cobbled streets of this village with the locals shaking their heads at the antics of the ‘Krazy Englanders’.
Costumes eventually appeared, and I was dressed as a monk. The other passengers on the stagecoach were Hughes, Kelly and MacCormack, dressed as well-to-do landed Gentry and two ‘females’ who were, in reality, my comrades Willie Moore and Al Offord.
A driver for the two horses was ‘recruited’ from the front end of a Sherman Tank, who found steering two skittish horses in a straight line was quite a challenge. The co-driver spent hours rehearsing the ‘Post Horn Gallop’, whilst bouncing up and down in a stagecoach, that did not have any suspension.
All too soon we were entrained for Vienna being held up at the Semmering Pass by big hulking Russians with Kalashnikov machine guns hanging from their shoulders. Their grim faces gave us the feeling of not being welcome.
The Tattoo was to be held in the grounds of the Schoenbrunn Palace with the bomb damaged Gloriette in the background. This was a magnificent setting even in the absence of all floral works.
This was to be, as always, a searchlight Tattoo that could only start when the sun went down. The show began with the Coldstream Guards performing the ‘Sunset Ceremony’.
The programme was two hours long and was enjoyed by more than 10 000 Viennese. Various V.I.P.'s and senior military ‘Brass’ made short work of the refreshments on a nightly basis.
There was a shortage of ‘pukka lances’ so these were given to the Hussars. We had to make do with sharpened clothes poles with a pennant attached to the top.
Our fifteen minutes of fame consisted of a sketch of mounted brigands awaiting the arrival of the stagecoach and then show-jumping over benches and tables outside the hostelry where the horses were to be changed.
On the sounding of the post horn the brigands would hide and, at the right moment, would gallop out and surround the stagecoach demanding “Your money or your life.”
When the passengers had been relieved of their worldly goods, the Cavalry rode to the rescue. The heroes were members of the 16/5th Lancers at the full gallop with outstretched clothes poles and pennants a fluttering.
The lancers escorted the brigands off to the slammer, but not before their Leader Capt. Peter Bull, riding a Lipizzaner Stallion, rode in front to give a mighty bow to the audience. The reaction was great, because everybody was happy to see the Lipizzaner again after their rescue from Czechoslovakia by no less than US General George Patton.
The rest of the programme was very entertaining. Various bands marched up and down, the Hussars did their ‘Musical Ride’ and the 4/5 Hampshires fired a ‘Fue de Joie’, this was the whole battalion of 750 men firing their rifles in very quick succession from left to right giving the impression of continuous rifle fire.
This was lost on the audience until the organisers changed it so that one man in the centre fired his rifle two seconds AFTER the others had finished.
This brought the house down as did the performance by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Pipe Band in their full Highland Dress.
In 1948 British Headquarters moved into a military complex (Fasangarten-Kaserne) behind the Gloriette, which had been used by British forces since 1945. The Palace itself was given back to the Austrian Government but the British Telefone Exchange remained situated in the palace until well into the 1950s.
The Imperial Apartments of Schönbrunn were re-opened to the general public on the 4th September 1948.
After the signing of the State Treaty in the Belvedere Palace on the 15th May 1955 the Palace of Schönbrunn became the chosen venue for one of the most important government receptions of those years.
The four foreign ministers of the occupying forces; Wjatscheslaw Molotov, Harold Macmillan, John Foster Dulles and Antoine Pinay together with their delegations and other leading politicians of the day met the members of the Austrian Federal Government and the Austrian Federal President Dr. Theodor Körner.
The ‘Zeremoniensaal’ (Ceremonial Hall) was used for the main guests (eighty V.I.P.'s), the Reception rooms were set aside for the other 1 200 invited guests.
The ‘Neptunbrunnen’ (Neptune Fountain) and the Gloriette were floodlit as they were at all receptions in the following years. For such events the ‘Ehrenhof’ (Main Court Yard) was used until well into the 1980s as a car park for more than 300 cars.
During the 1980s the number of visitors to the Palace was continually increasing from year to year and rapidly reached a peak of some 1 600 000 a year. Nevertheless, the long-needed restoration work slowly came to a halt.
The Schlosshauptmannschaft Schönbrunn faced the virtual impossible task of restoring the vast complex of buildings within the grounds whilst, at the same time, the budget for such costly work was slowly being reduced to a minimum. This led to a very quick deterioration of Schönbrunn and its outbuildings. Public opinion turned against the state employees who were responsible for the upkeep of the Palace. Reorganisation became the theme of the day and it finally led to the privatisation of Schönbrunn in the early 1990s.
The Schlosshauptmannschaft Schönbrunn gave way to the Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. a private company, having successfully achieved efficient management together with extensive programmes of renovation and conservation.
In 1996 Schönbrunn Palace and its extensive park, together with its numerous architectural features, fountains, statues and the zoo, was placed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
The Imperial Apartments
A few years after the privatisation the management decided job-splitting was a suitable way of dealing with the complexity of the Imperial Apartments. The administration of the Imperial Apartments was divided into two sections. This job-splitting led to the administrative, maintenance, fire safety and security requirements being divided between two supervisors who both continued to work closely together. A few years later a further department came into being to organise and run the children’s museum on the ground floor.
Colleagues have come and gone, and it would be pointless to list them all, but some names need to be mentioned. Many of our young colleagues were given the opportunity of working in the administration of the department. New ideas were born, and new methods of running the department started to take place. At one point seven colleagues (Middle Management) were working together developing plans and ideas for the future.
This system not only brought speed and efficiency, but also rivalry between those involved in this work.
Andrea was in charge of the advance booking system as she was the only one of us who could to run an office. Andrea slowly but surely took over most of the administration work and has since been involved in safety and security matters and the supervision of most of the staff. Her duties have become more complex and challenging but, with the help of a few young colleagues she has turned the advance booking system into a modern call centre, and she has also played an important role in planning alterations to the infrastructure.
Over the years I have kept the responsibility for the basic maintenance requirements of the Imperial Apartments. I have also continued with my old duties, such as the supervision, tutoring and coaching of the cleaning-staff, the instruction of colleagues and private guides in respect to safety, fire safety, evacuation procedures, and sensible decision making when confronted by the many more unforeseeable dangers that face us today.
I proudly look back at the decades that I have worked in Schönbrunn Palace and the satisfaction and enjoyment I have derived from being a part of a great team who have done their best to preserve the past for the future.
My Guided Tour
I have been able to achieve most satisfaction when imparting knowledge, gained over the years, to others be they tourists or one of the many V.I.P.’s it has been my pleasure to escort around this magnificent building.
Part of my duties over the years has been to compile and write ‘scripts’ for the trainee guides (these were mainly students) who needed to refresh their knowledge from time to time to ensure the visitors would be given correct information. This was a matter of great importance to me as a person who has had the privilege of being able to spend more time in Schönbrunn than many of its Royal inhabitants.
Some guides tend to neglect the need to have a good basic knowledge of history. This knowledge is the key to a true understanding of the events that have taken place in the world; events that have changed the course of history; events that have changed the past and present and continue to do so to this day.
Guides are well advised to prepare their background information so they are well-prepared to answer any questions, but at the same time be willing to admit not knowing about a certain topic rather than making their own version of history and misleading the visitor by doing so.
The history of Schönbrunn has always been closely linked with the history of Austria, as it has been the scene of many political conferences, receptions and suchlike. Austria and the history of Europe are forever one and part of the whole. My intention is to set out to link the past and present of Austria's place in Europe, and to remind us that today we are creating the history of the future.
When I started to write this book about Schönbrunn, it was clear to me, that knowledge acquired as a guide in Schönbrunn Palace for the past three to four decades does not count as a qualification in history.
It has always been my intention to publish a collection of my scripts, written over the decades, which should enable my colleagues and readers to appreciate the importance of this magnificent Palace. I hope this book will not only provide a quick reference to the history of the Palace but will also give its readers an association with events that took place during those bygone days, and maybe out of this will come a renewed interest in things past.
THE IMPERIAL APARTMENTS
There were two main building periods, the first was from 1696 until 1712 and the second during the reign of Maria Theresia.
The Blue Staircase and the so-called Fischgrätzimmer, which most probably derived its name from the fishbone pattern of the original floor, date back to the first building period. The Untersberg marble door frames and certain other details in this small section of the building still show the strong baroque influence of that time.
The Guard Room
The security of the Imperial Palace was of utmost importance.
Carefully selected members of the Imperial Guard (Leibgarde) were posted in this room to protect the Imperial family.
Some of the uniforms worn by the Austro-Hungarian army are shown in the Guard Room. One of the most elaborate was the Hungarian (Hussar) uniform, which was greatly influenced by the historical Hungarian national ‘folks’ costume. Emperor Franz Joseph had the rank of Field Marshal and wore the Austrian or Hungarian uniform accordingly.
The Adjutant's Room (adjacent to the Guard Room)
The Adjutant's Room is furnished the way it was at the end of the 19th century.
The Adjutant was an officer on the personal staff of the Emperor and acted as his confidential private secretary in routine matters. He was responsible for all matters regarding the daily requirements of the Emperor.
The ceramic stoves were stoked from an adjacent room. This meant all of the openings that are usually found on the front of a stove are placed on the back. The bottom half of the stove, the part attached to the wall, is the stove itself, the top half simply acted as a radiator.
In the second half of the 19th century an additional modern hot air circulations system was installed. The stoke rooms were situated on the ground floor and ventilation ducts distributed the heat from the furnaces into the rooms. Later this system was modernised with powerful electric ventilators forced the warm air to circulate through the rooms. It remained in use until 1994.
The Billiard Room
This room was originally called the Carousel Room. The Carousel painting, which is now in the ‘new’ Carousel Room, was situated in the Billiard Room until the mid-19th century.
The so-called ‘Billiard room’ was the waiting room in the time of the Emperor Franz Joseph. It was where the visitors waited before being admitted to an audience with the Emperor.
The Emperor Franz Joseph was known to have given regular audiences, which gave the citizens of the Habsburg Empire an opportunity to bring their desires and problems to his notice.
Those awaiting the privilege of receiving an audience with his Majesty would be informed of the procedure before entering the Audience Room and were told that the Emperor would always end an audience with the words „Es war sehr schön, es hat mich sehr gefreut.” (“It was delightful, it gave me great pleasure.”) - A sentence that has gone down in Austrian history and is still in daily use.
The main painting by the School of Martin van Meytens shows the foundation of the Order of Maria Theresia (1758) which was the highest Austrian military order and was given for merit in battle.
The newly founded Order is shown being bestowed upon Field-Marshal Leopold Graf Daun and Karl von Lothringen for their military achievements during the Battle of Kolin, and the so-called Seven Year War.
The two other paintings in this room are by Fritz l'Allemand and show events that took place during the centennial celebrations of the same order in 1858.
The painting on the left shows a banquet in the Great Gallery, which also acted as the ballroom of Schönbrunn. The painting to the right illustrates the garden festivities that took place after the banquet.
The game billiards evolved from a lawn game similar to croquet. As time passed the game was played indoors on a table. The balls were pushed, not struck, with wooden sticks called maces. The term ‘billiard’ is derived from the French word ‘billart’ (wooden stick) or ‘bille’ (ball).
The game was originally played with two balls on a six-pocket table with a hoop and a small upright skittle acting as the target. During the eighteenth century the hoop and skittle gradually disappeared, leaving only the balls and pockets.
The ‘Noble’ game of billiards became popular in the early 1800s, but the game itself has been known for centuries and was even mentioned in Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra.
The Audience Room (Walnut Room)
This room was used by Emperor Joseph II as his Audience Chamber and still has a great deal of the original hand carved ornamentation that shows the exquisite workmanship of the 18th century.
The majority of the furnishings date back to its use in the 19th century as an audience room of the Emperor Franz Joseph.
The map shows the Kingdom of Hungary together with the neighbouring crown-lands as it was at the time of Ferdinand I.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire
The ethnic German and Hungarian speaking provinces were the two dominant parties in the empire. They had their newly formed governments in Vienna and Budapest, but remained subject to the one monarch who, in turn, had almost unlimited powers regarding foreign, military, and financial affairs.
The ethnic tensions within the Empire led to the Czech boycott of the Austrian parliament, which resulted in a domination of the parliament by the ethnic German Austrian Liberals until the late 1870s.
The Liberals lost their influence by opposing the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which upset Franz Joseph who saw their interference as an infringement on his Sovereign Authority.
Franz Joseph actively encouraged the ethnic German-Austrian conservatives, Polish and Czech representatives to form the so-called ‘Iron Ring’ with the intention of limiting the influence of the Liberals and to represent Court interests.
Concessions had to be given to the Czechs in return for their support, nevertheless, sensitive issues regarding the use of the Czech language in Bohemia and the problems of the ethnic German minority in Bohemia became more and more noticeable.
The growing anti-Semitism within the population led to the foundation of a nationalist movement, which became the third major political movement.
Toward the end of the 19th century the ethnic tensions made it difficult to ignore the influence of German nationalism and brought about a conflict with other national and ethnic groups within the Empire.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire started to look toward Eastern Europe and the declining Ottoman influence in the Balkans. Austria-Hungary was in favour of the preservation of the Ottoman power in that area in order to stop the expansion of Russian influence.
At this time Russia was a very dominant power in some of the Balkan states such as Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Rumania.
Austria-Hungary decided to stop further chaos in the Ottoman provinces by occupying Bosnia and Herzegovina whilst, at the same time, allowing Ottomans to retain their sovereignty over the area. Germany managed to limit Russian gains during the Russian-Ottoman War (1877-78) and this considerably upset the political relationships between the two powers considerably.
The ‘Dual Alliance’ between Austria-Hungary and Germany was an agreement of mutual defence between the two powers against a possible attack by Russia. This treaty would not involve Austria-Hungary in any conflict between Germany and France.
The ‘Triple Alliance’ between Germany, Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire mainly protected Italian and German interests, but did little to resolve the outstanding issues between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy.
The Emperor Franz Joseph's Study
The private rooms of the Emperor show the influence of the 19th century.
Franz Joseph is said to have started work at about five o'clock each morning, having his breakfast served at his writing desk.
The paintings show:
- Franz Joseph being congratulated by an assembly of huntsmen on the 50th anniversary of his accession to the throne (1898).
- Franz Joseph at the age of thirty-three
Painter: Franz Russ
- Elisabeth at the age of twenty-six
Painter: Franz Russ
The Empress Elisabeth was born in Bavaria (House of Wittelsbach) on the 24th December 1837, and was murdered on the 10th September 1898 during a visit to Geneva by the anarchist Luigi Lucheni.
Luigi Lucheni, the 25-year-old anarchist claimed that he had come to Geneva to assassinate the Duke of Orleans who, by chance, cancelled his visit. Lucheni then decided to kill the Empress of Austria as - so to speak - ‘the next best alternative’.
During the interrogation, Lucheni said “Non mi pento di nulla!” (“I regret nothing”.)
In October 1898 Lucheni was sentenced to life imprisonment and committed suicide on the 19th October 1910.
Emperor Franz Joseph's Bedroom
The Emperor died in this room on the 21st November 1916 at the age of eighty-six after reigning for sixty-eight years.
Emperor Franz Joseph was Europe's second longest reigning monarch only Louis XIV of France reigned longer than Franz Joseph.
A small painting by Franz von Matsch, dated 22nd November 1916, shows the Emperor Franz Joseph one day after his death.
The toilet, (English Water Closet) was installed in the room at the beginning of the 20th century. (1900)
Franz Joseph had a very tragic life:
- His brother Maximilian (Emperor of Mexico) was executed in Mexico in 1867.
- His only son Rudolph committed suicide in Mayerling in 1889.
- His wife Elisabeth was murdered in 1898.
- His nephew and heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was shot in Sarajevo
in 1914, an incident said to have triggered off the First World War.
In June 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were welcomed in Sarajevo by General Oskar Potiorek, the Governor of the Austrian provinces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who had invited them to watch his troops on manoeuvres.
Franz Ferdinand knew that the visit would be dangerous and that a large number of Serbs living in Bosnia-Herzegovina had formed a resistance group called ‘The Black Hand’ (Crna Ruka) and were in favour of a union with Serbia.
On the 28th June 1914, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were driven in a convoy of six open top cars from the train station of Sarajevo to the City Hall for the official reception.
The Mayor of Sarajevo, Fehim Curcic and Dr. Gerde, the city's Commissioner of Police were in the first car. Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were in the second car together with General Oskar Potiorek and Count Harrach.
Suddenly a bomb was thrown at the Archduke's car but missed and exploded in front of the car behind. Two of the occupants were seriously wounded and a lot of spectators were also hit by shrapnel. Franz Ferdinand's chauffeur drove on extremely fast and other members of the Black Hand along the route decided that it was useless to try anything when the car was going at such a speed.
After the official reception at the City Hall Franz Ferdinand asked about the members of his party who had been wounded by the bomb and then insisted on being taken to see them in hospital. He was warned of the possible danger to his life, and it was suggested that it would be better if his wife remained behind in the City Hall. Sophie refused and said, “As long as the Archduke shows himself in public today I will not leave his side.”
General Oskar Potiorek decided the convoy should drive straight to the hospital and avoid the city centre but forgot to inform the chauffeur. On the way to the hospital the driver took a right turn into Franz Joseph Street.
Potiorek immediately realised the driver had taken the wrong route and stopped the car. As the chauffeur began to back up the car very slowly, one of the conspirators, Gavrilo Princip, who happened to be standing there, immediately reacted by drawing his gun and firing into the Archduke’s car.
Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were mortally wounded.
Before the Archduke lost his consciousness, he pleaded: “Sopherl! Sopherl! Don't die! Stay alive for the sake of our children!”
The first years of World War I
After the assassination of the heir to the throne, the Austro-Hungarian Empire presented Serbia with an ultimatum. The Empire demanded Serbia to suppress all activities, organisations, propaganda which are against the interests of Austria-Hungary and allow the Empire to take part in the Serbian investigation of the assassination.
On the 28th July 1914, the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire decided to declare war on ‘little’ Serbia without further consideration. What was considered to be the outbreak of a short conflict became a serious situation because of the mobilisation of Russia at the end of July 1914. This led to an escalation of the conflict as it brought into play the system of European alliances. Suddenly, most of Europe was in a state of war.
In order to avoid fighting a war on two fronts Germany needed to defeat France as quickly as possible before turning to face Russia. Therefore Germany responded to Russia’s mobilisation by immediately declaring war on both Russia and France.
Britain declared war on Germany, Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia. Finally, France and Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary.
Italy declared its neutrality and Germany, in an attempt to win Italian support, tried to move Austria-Hungary into making concessions to Italy regarding the Austrian territories in Tyrol. This led to the same promise being made by the ‘Triple Entente’ powers France, Great Britain and Russia and therefore Italy entered the war on their side in April 1915.
German and Austro-Hungarian military victories in the east, during the spring of 1915, made up for the military disasters incurred by Austria-Hungary in 1914.
Austria-Hungary was ill-prepared for such a long and costly war and the Empire's economic situation slowly developed into a major problem. The war was becoming a threat to the Empire itself.
The unexpected death of the old, and to many the ‘immortal’ Emperor Franz Joseph on the 21st November 1916 came as a further blow to Austria-Hungary and its unity as a whole.
West Terrace Room
The West Terrace Room gave access to the terrace that leads to the so-called ‘Valerie-Wing’ and the private apartments of the Archduchess Valerie.
Staircase Cabinet (Stiegenkabinett)
The Imperial family could use a small spiral staircase to descend to the private rooms of the Empress Elisabeth, which were adjacent to the Kammergarten (Court-Garden).
Franz Joseph and Elisabeth's children had apartments on the ground floor that were completely refurbished for that purpose during the latter part of the 19th century.
Fortunately, the original designs and decorations of the 18th century were preserved, and a complete restoration of the rooms in the year 2002 brought the magnificent craftsmanship of the 18th century back to life.
The spiral staircase was removed after the end of the monarchy.
The main painting (copy) shows Elisabeth during a stay on the island of Corfu, one of her favourite holiday refuges. Her travels took her to countries such as Bavaria, England, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Portugal.
The Empress did not allow herself to be officially photographed after the age of thirty, and the last official painting is dated 1879 when she was forty-two years of age.
There is very little knowledge of what Elisabeth really looked like towards the end of her life. She is often seen on prints hiding her face behind a folding fan in an attempt to stop photographs being taken.
Empress Elisabeth’s Dressing Room
The Dressing Room is dedicated to Empress Elisabeth's vanity.
Fanny Feifalik (maiden name Angerer) was Elisabeth's favourite hairdresser and confidante.
Fanny Feifalik is known to have acted as a double for the Empress when only a distant glimpse was possible.
This ruse gave her majesty a certain amount of privacy during many of her official visits and journeys.
Elisabeth was regarded as one of the most beautiful women of her time. She was 172 cms (5'8'' inches) in height and weighed some 46 - 50 kilo.
She had a waistline of 52 centimetres and was known for her daily sports and training routine, which was somewhat out of place during the 19th century. She was a skilled horsewoman and enjoyed riding for anything up to eight hours, frequently changing horses during such rides.
Her beautiful hair that reached down to her ankles is regarded as being one of the main contributions to her beauty.
Empress Elisabeth rose at five o'clock in the morning and needed some three hours to get dressed and have her hair attended to. She used this time with her hairdresser to learn foreign languages such as Hungarian or Greek; on one such occasion she remarked, “I am a slave of my hair.”
The Imperial Bedroom
This was the Imperial Bedroom of Elisabeth and Franz Joseph.
The heavy 19th century furniture, together with the breakfast table that can be raised and lowered for breakfast in bed and the kneeler are made of Rosewood (Palisander Veneer). Although the beds give the impression of being rather short, they are 2.4 metres long.
The majority of the chandeliers in Schönbrunn are of Bohemian crystal glass and were made in Bohemia during the 18th and 19th centuries. They were lit by candles until 1901 when they were converted to electricity.
The history of the production of glass in central Europe goes back to the 3rd century BC.
During the 11th century the production spread through Carinthia (Austria), Italy, Istria, Bohemia and then into Germany and Holland. The original glass (forest glass) retained a green shade caused by the imperfect refining of the raw materials (potash and quartz sand). Bohemian (Czech) glass was first recorded during the 15th and 16th centuries and was later inspired by the popular Venetian glass products of that period.
During the mid-18th century Bohemian companies started to manufacture the so-called ‘Maria Theresian chandeliers’ for the Imperial court. At the end of the 18th century the heavier, but softer lead-crystal glass that was produced in England, Ireland and France came onto the markets. Lead-crystal was more suitable for cutting and began to compete with Bohemian crystal glass. This led to a major crisis in the Bohemian glass industry during the 19th century.
The Empress Elisabeth's Drawing Room
The Empress Elisabeth's Drawing Room was used by the Empress as her audience room.
Some of the pastel portraits in this room are of Maria Theresia’s children and are the work of the Belgium artist Pierre Joseph Lion (1729 - 1809).
The pastel portrait of Marie Antoinette in a red hunting costume is by Joseph Kranzinger.
Pastels are painted with a mixture of powdered colour pigments, which are mixed with a certain amount of resin or gum and then are moulded, usually into stick form. This is the purest form of pigment and gives portraits, such as those that can be seen in this room, a very vivid, luminous intensity.
Elisabeth, a Bavarian princess of the house of Wittelsbach, today known by her nickname ‘Sisi’, was sixteen years old when she married the twenty-four year old Emperor Franz Joseph.
From the very beginning she had major problems with her mother-in-law (Archduchess Sophie) and other members of the court and began, as the years past by, to travel away from Vienna to avoid these problems and to escape from life at Court.
Elisabeth and Franz Joseph had four children, Sophie, Gisela, Rudolf and Valerie.
Sophie died just before reaching her second birthday during a visit to Budapest.
Their only son, Crown Prince Rudolf was unhappily married to the Belgian Princess Stephanie. Rudolf's relationship with his father was a difficult one because his views contrasted with those of Franz Joseph. Rudolf had very liberal views and was therefore never involved in state affairs.
Rudolf committed suicide in 1889 together with his mistress Mary Vetsera in the small hunting lodge in Mayerling near Vienna.
The tragedy of Mayerling led to much speculations regarding the cause of his death. The fact that Crown Prince Rudolf was not alone at the hunting lodge was covered up for a long time.
The loss of their only son was a very great shock to the Emperor and his wife, who from that day onwards only wore black.
Crown Prince Rudolf and his mistress Countess Mary Vetsera were found dead in the Imperial hunting lodge at Mayerling early on the morning of the 30th January 1889.
Franz Joseph did everything he could to keep the real circumstances behind the tragedy of Mayerling secret, especially the involvement of Mary Vetsera.
This, together with the cause of death, was a disaster for the very catholic Imperial court. To confess that the heir to the throne had not only committed suicide but also murdered Mary Vetsera, would have brought unbearable shame on the crown.
Slowly, snippets of information leaked out and partially true versions of the tragic death of the heir to the throne were made available to the public.
Mary Vetsera’s name was kept secret for decades.
Decades have passed and little is known for certain of the happenings that took place in the small hunting lodge and even less of the events, which eventually had led to the ‘Drama of Mayerling’, are known.
More than thirty versions of the tragedy evolved - suicide, jealousy, political or family disharmony, murder, anarchism and even high treason due to political differences and diverging points of view between the old conservative Franz Joseph and his liberal son Rudolph are cited.
Grave robbery 1991
Rumours of a reported grave robbery prompted the official opening of the grave of Mary Vetsera on 22nd December 1992, in the presence of television and the press.
The grave was found to be empty and an investigation was started that led to Helmut Flatzelsteiner being accused of grave robbery. He wanted to clarify the affair of Mayerling and admitted the twilight robbery of Mary Vetsera’s mortal remains in July 1991 with the intention of examining the cause of her death. After the police investigations the mortal remains of Mary Vetsera were re-interned on 28th October 1993 and the vault was filled with earth, in order to prevent any further attempt at exhumation.
The secret of Mayerling lingers on ..........................
The Marie Antoinette Room
The Marie Antoinette Room derives its name from a tapestry (gobelin) that hung in this room until 1922, which shows Marie Antoinette and her children as they were portrayed by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun in 1787. The tapestry, a gift from Napoleon III, is now in private possession of the Habsburg family.
This room was used for family dinners and small festivities and now contains a reconstruction of a 19th century dining room.
The large painting shows the Emperor Franz Joseph at the age of twenty.
The Imperial-Serviettes (‘Kaiserservietten’), folded like a fleur-de-lys, were, and still are reserved for State receptions.
German Delegation 1908
It was in this room where in 1908 Emperor William II, together with a delegation of German princes and representatives, congratulated the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph on the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne.
1. Kaiser Franz Joseph
2. Friedrich II., Großherzog von Baden
3. Fürst Leopold IV. von Lippe-Detmold
4. Friedrich August III., König von Sachsen
5. Wilhelm Ernst, Großherzog von Sachsen-Weimar
6. Luitpold, Prinzregent von Bayern
7. Kaiser Wilhelm II.
8. Friedrich III. von Anhalt
9. Wilhelm II., König von Württemberg
10. Friedrich August, Großherzog von Oldenburg
11. Friedrich Franz IV., Großherzog von Mecklenburg-Schwerin
12. Georg, Fürst von Schaumburg-Lippe
13. Dr. Burchard, Bürgermeister von Hamburg
The Children's Portraits Room
The paintings show some of Maria Theresia's children (unknown painter referred to as being ‘Meister der Erzherzoginnen’)
Maria Christine 1742-1798
Maria Christine (Mimi) was a very talented artist and Maria Theresia's favourite child. She was married to Albert of Sachsen-Teschen and was the only child of the Archduchess who was allowed to choose her own husband.
Albert came to Vienna in 1760 and fell in love with ‘Mimi’ but Maria Theresia's husband Francis Stephen was not in favour of the marriage.
After the sudden death of the Emperor the young couple was allowed to marry. Later Albert and Mimi were appointed governors of the Netherlands, but they had to return to Vienna after the French occupied the country.
Albert was passionately devoted to the arts. Together with his wife he founded the Albertina in Vienna, which still holds one of the largest collections of graphic sketches and artwork in the world.
In 1805, Albert supported the completion of the new Viennese water supply (Albertinische Wasserleitung) that later became renowned for supplying the excellent quality of water to the western suburbs of Vienna.
Maria Caroline 1752-1814
Maria Caroline (Charlotte) was married to King Ferdinand IV of Naples in 1768 and had immense influence on her husband. In 1777, after the birth of a male heir to the throne, Maria Caroline received the right to enter the Council of State.
In 1793 Naples joined the Austro-English coalition against the French Revolution and therefore in 1798 the French invaded Naples and formed the Parthenopean Republic. Ferdinand and Caroline fled to Sicily and only returned to Naples in 1799 after the defeat of the Republic.
In 1806 Napoleon captured Naples and forced the royal family to seek refuge in Sicily. Ferdinand was obliged to appoint his son Francis as regent and granted Sicily a constitution.
In 1813 Maria Caroline returned to Vienna and died shortly before the Congress of Vienna (1814-15) decided to return the kingdom to her husband.
Ferdinand returned to Naples as King of the newly founded United Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Marie Antoinette 1755-1793
The Archduchess Marie Antoinette was Maria Theresia’s youngest daughter and was born on the 2nd November 1755 in Vienna. She married the Dauphin (crown prince) of France in 1770. Four years later, when her husband was crowned King Louis XVI (House of Bourbon) she became Queen of France. Antoinette and Louis found themselves confronted by the political and social changes that were taking place during the 18th century.
As a result of France's growing financial crisis the Royal family reduced the Royal household staff, eliminating many unnecessary positions that were based on privilege. By so doing Marie Antoinette offended many of the nobles and engendered their criticism, which was the source of many of the scandalous stories about ‘l'Autrichienne’ (the Austrian) being spread by members of the court.
It was the nobility who opposed the financial reforms of the government and not the King and Queen, who were in favour of the changes.
In 1789 a mob of revolutionists (Women’s March on Versailles) forced its way into the Palace of Versailles demanding that the Royal family be removed to the Tuileries Palace in Paris. The King and Queen were virtual prisoners and Marie Antoinette sought help from European rulers including her brother, the Austrian Emperor Joseph II and her sister Maria Caroline, Queen of Naples.
The Royal family attempted to flee in 1791 but were recognised and brought back to Paris. Austria and Prussia declared war on France and Marie Antoinette was accused of passing military secrets to the enemy. In 1792, the Royal family was accused of high treason and imprisoned.
On the 21st January 1793, Louis XVI was convicted of treason and executed on the guillotine. Marie Antoinette suffered much during her final days of imprisonment. The revolutionists took her children away from her and her best friend, the Princess de Lambelle, was executed and her severed head was put on a pole and paraded in front of the Queen’s prison window.
Marie Antoinette followed her husband to the guillotine on the 16th October 1793.
The small breakfast room is decorated with application needlework that was made by Maria Theresia's mother, Elisabeth Christina, during the 18th century.
These beautiful pieces of needlework were made with segments of the garments and materials used by the Imperial family during the 18th century. Small remnants were sewn together (application) to form the impressive bouquets of flowers.
The Yellow Drawing Room
The pastel paintings show children of the 18th century and not members of the Imperial family. These form a complete contrast to the typical court portraits by Martin van Meytens of Maria Theresia's children that can be seen in the next room.
The ornate clocks in Schönbrunn display the workmanship of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The clock in the Yellow Drawing Room was made in France (Ridel-Paris) and shows the time, day, date and the phase of the moon.
The Balcony Room
The paintings show some of Maria Theresia's sixteen children
(School of van Meytens)
The Mirror Room
The following rooms in the centre of the building are the reception rooms that were used purely for entertainment. All the reception rooms are parallel to each other and have many interconnecting doors, but there are no servant's rooms or corridors in this part of the Palace.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart gave his very first concert for the Imperial family in the Mirror Room of Schönbrunn in 1762 at the age of six.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in the city of Salzburg on the 27th January 1756 and was the son of the music director Leopold Mozart.
The young boy started composing when he was five. In 1762, together with his sister Nannerl, he gave one of his first performances before the Imperial family of Austria. His father Leopold encouraged his children to exhibit their talents and in 1763 the family set out on their first tour.
Mozart's genius astonished his audiences and he was invited to perform before the Royal Families in both, Paris and London. During the following years the Mozart family travelled to Vienna, Milan, Munich and back and forth to Salzburg. In 1777 Wolfgang was sent to Munich and later travelled on to Mannheim where he fell in love with Aloysia Weber. His father Leopold wanted to send him to Paris, but the prospects of success there were poor and he decided to bring him home again.
After a short stay in Munich Mozart hoped to get a position at the Imperial Court in Vienna but had to be content with teaching, composing and publishing his music in order to make a living.
In 1782, Mozart married Constanze Weber, Aloysia's younger sister.
In 1787 he was appointed Court Musician (Kammermusicus), which gave him a reasonable income. Nevertheless, his lavish spending resulted in financial problems that forced him to borrow money. Mozart was able to improve his reputation by writing and publishing his music and by giving piano recitals.
Between 1782 and 1786, Mozart wrote many of his piano concertos. In 1786 he wrote the ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ (Le nozze di Figaro) and ‘Don Giovanni’ (1787) followed by ‘Cosi fan tutte’ and the ‘Magic Flute’ (Die Zauberflöte) in 1791.
The Emperor Joseph II once commented, “... too many notes, dear Mozart”.
Joseph Haydn regarded Mozart as one of the greatest composers the world had ever known; one who has, - “a taste for, and, what is more, the greatest knowledge of composition.”
Mozart lived in Vienna for the rest of his life but undertook a number of journeys to Salzburg, Prague and Berlin. Mozart had been a freemason since 1784 and this was to influence his compositions during his last years.
The famous genius died in Vienna on the 5th December 1791 and was buried in a reusable coffin, in an unmarked grave in St. Marx’s cemetery in accordance with the burial laws of the reformer Joseph II.
His last composition, the ‘Requiem’, was left unfinished until it was finally completed by his pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr.
Rooms 17, 18, 19
The Rosa Rooms
The rooms derive their name from the Austrian landscape artist Joseph Rosa, who was responsible for idealistic paintings that were inspired by his frequent trips to Italy and Switzerland.
The main painting in the centre shows Francis Steven of Lorraine.
Maria Theresia, daughter of Karl VI and Elisabeth Christina (Elisabeth Christina of Brunwick-Wolfenbuettel), married Francis Stephen of Lorraine (Franz Stephan von Lothringen) in 1736. The happily married couple had sixteen children, eleven daughters and five sons. Francis Stephen was elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1745.
Maria Theresia carried the titles of the Habsburg-crown lands and was Archduchess of Austria. As such she was responsible for the decisions made within the Habsburg provinces and, together with her excellent advisors, led the Empire into a never-to-be-forgotten era in which many reforms took place.
The reforms included a higher standard of education and a centralisation of the administration together with the reformation of the judiciary and finance.
Her physician, van Swieten, reformed the universities, introduced textbooks and linked the medical school of the University of Vienna with the newly introduced public health service.
The majority of Maria Theresia’s children had pre-arranged political marriages according to the motto “Bella gerant alii, tu, felix Austria, nube” (“Let others wage war: thou, happy Austria, marry”) and accepted their destinies.
The death of Francis Stephen of Lorraine was a tremendous shock for his wife, the Archduchess Maria Theresia and plunged her into a long period of grief from which emerged greater and stronger than ever before. Her eldest son Joseph was elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1765 and became co-regent of the Habsburg provinces.
Toward the end of her life, Maria Theresia had become extremely stout and was in very poor health, consequently spending more and more of her time at her favourite residence, Schönbrunn Palace.
Following Maria Theresia’s death in 1780, Joseph II reigned in his own right.
The Lantern Room
The Lantern Room was the ‘Entrée’ into the Reception Rooms.
The Great Gallery
In 1750, Maria Theresia embarked on a new phase of rebuilding and commissioned Nikolaus Pacassi to carry out the alterations. The building work included the decorations of the ceremonial and state rooms, and the two galleries in the centre of the building were given magnificent stucco-work decorations and frescoes.
The Great gallery is the main ballroom of Schönbrunn, it is forty-three metres long, ten metres wide and approximately ten metres high.
The frescos are by the Italian Gregorio Gulielmi (dated 1761 - 1763).
The first fresco (west) shows peace time and trades associated with peace, the following fresco in the centre depicts the crown lands of the Habsburg Empire and the last one (east) symbolises Austria as a military power .
During the Second World War more than 270 bombs fell in the grounds of Schönbrunn. The Palace Theatre (Schlosstheater) was slightly damaged, a large part of the Cavalier Wing (Kavaliertrakt) was destroyed, the left hand side of the Gloriette was torn away and the Zoo and outbuildings suffered heavy damage.
Only one bomb hit the main building crashing through two floors and tearing a large hole adjacent to the Oval Staircase (Ovalstiege). It wedged itself between the ceiling fresco of the Great Gallery and the floor above it without exploding. Ironically the bomb destroyed the only fresco in Schönbrunn Palace that depicts Austria as the military power it once was during the 18th century.
The fresco was restored in 1947-48.
The Great Gallery has been used over the past centuries for thousands of Grand Balls, banquets and state receptions. In 1961 the Great Gallery was the site for the meeting of F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev. One of the most memorable events of the 1960s was the reception held for Queen Elisabeth II in 1969.
Between the years 2010 and 2012 the Great Gallery was totally restored and has been reconstructed to the way it would have looked in the mid-19th century. The management of Schönbrunn took this opportunity to replace the old, soon to be forbidden, light-bulbs with modern LED technology.
Congress of Vienna
Representatives of nearly all the European powers attended the Congress of Vienna, which took place from September 1814 to June 1815. The intention of the negotiations was the re-establishment of the political and territorial borders in Europe after the Napoleonic Wars.
In February 1815 Napoleon escaped from the island of Elba and managed to gather a new army on his way to Paris. The Congress of Vienna, shocked by the news of a possible Napoleonic threat to Europe, interrupted the negotiations.
Napoleon was unsuccessful in negotiating peace with the allies and after his military defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 he surrendered and was exiled to St. Helena, where he died in 1821.
After Waterloo the European powers restarted the interrupted negotiations in Vienna. Metternich, the Austrian minister of state, was President of the Congress and played a very important role in the talks.
Great Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria had agreed to exclude France, Spain and the smaller powers from being involved in any of the important decisions. Great Britain was represented by its foreign minister, Viscount Castlereagh and the Duke of Wellington, Prussia by Prince Karl August von Hardenberg. However, the French diplomat Talleyrand was able to secure a certain amount of say in the matter.
The main achievement of the Congress of Vienna was to correct the balance of power within Europe and the forty years of peace that followed the congress.
The Small Gallery
The ceiling fresco by Gregorio Guglielmi shows the link between the House of Habsburg and the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1854 the preparations for the marriage of Franz Joseph to Elisabeth gave a reason for the start of intensive restoration work to the interior of Schönbrunn.
In 1869 the marble-finish stucco-work in the Small Gallery was replaced with a highly polished white-lead finish and elaborate gilt decorations, which were restored again in 2000.
Thomas Alva Edison vs. Béla Egger
The first electric appliances in Schönbrunn were installed by the United Electrical Co. Vienna (Vereinigte Elektrizitäts AG - Wien) in 1901. This company was owned by the Hungarian Béla Egger.
During the last few years rumours have begun to circulate claiming that Thomas Alva Edison could have had some influence in regard to the first installation of electricity in the Palace.
I have not been able to find anything that would confirm any such connection other than the fact that Béla Egger knew Edison and definitely was in contact with him at that time.
The Round Chinese Room
The Round Chinese Room was used for secret conferences between Maria Theresia and her Chancellor Kaunitz during the Austrian Succession War and the so-called Seven Years War. These conferences gave the room its 18th century name, the ‘Konspirationszimmer’.
The room is decorated with Chinese and Japanese lacquer works and Chinese vases. It also has one of the oldest floors in the Palace.
The Oval Chinese Room
The Oval Chinese Room is much the same as the Round Chinese Room as it too is decorated with Chinese and Japanese lacquer works. The small vases on the consoles are from Japan.
Some of the rooms on the south side of the Palace date back to the time of Maria Theresia and therefore have typical Rococo decorations with the asymmetrical designs.
The Carrousel Room
The Carrousel Room derives its name from the large painting, which depicts a ladies tournament (Carrousel) in the Spanish Riding School during the time of Maria Theresia.
The painting on the right shows the foundation of the highest civilian order - the Order of St. Stephen.
The painting on the far right shows Maria Theresia's eldest son Joseph II.
The painting on the left shows Maria Theresia's father Karl VI (Karl III of Spain).
The Spanish Riding School
The Archduke Maximilian (son of Emperor Ferdinand I) built a stud in Kladrub, Bohemia (Czech Republic) in 1562 for crossbreeding Spanish and Arabian horses. A few years later an open air riding school was built in front of the ‘Stallburg’ (Court Stables) of the Hofburg in Vienna, and twenty years later a wooden riding hall -’Spanische Reithstall’ was in use.
The stud in Lipica (Lipizza) in Slovenia was founded in 1580 by Archduke Karl. The first recorded performance of the Lipizzaner took place on 24th January 1667 on the occasion of the wedding of Leopold I with the Spanish Infanta Margareta Theresia.
In 1681, Leopold I decided to establish a new indoor riding school, the so-called winter riding school, but in 1683 the construction work ceased because of the war against the Ottomans. During the siege of Vienna the almost finished riding school was greatly damaged.
In 1729, under Karl VI, the rebuilding was started by the court architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach and in 1735 the building was completed in its present form. The painting in the Court Box (Hofloge) of the riding hall shows Karl VI and to this day it is saluted by the riders as they enter the hall.
After 1920 a stud was founded in Piber near Graz for breeding Lipizzaner for the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
Maria Theresia used the winter riding school for her ‘Ritterspiele’ (Knightly Games) and participated in ladies tournaments (Carrousels), the splendid Court Balls, as well as the masked parties.
In 1939, a year after the annexation of Austria by the German Third Reich, Major Podhajsky was appointed leader of the Riding School.
In 1944, the first bombs fell near to the stables, and in February 1945 Major Podhajsky began to evacuate the stallions to St. Martin in Upper Austria.
On the 3rd May 1945, St. Martin was occupied by the American armed forces and on the 7th May a performance was given before the American General Patton.
Podhajsky asked Patton for the help of the American army to protect the Lipizzaner. In February 1946, the stallions were brought to Wels where they stayed until 1955 when they were finally brought back to Vienna.
In 1972 the Spanish Riding School celebrated its 400th anniversary.
Karl VI, son of the Emperor Leopold I and brother of Emperor Joseph I, was also Karl III of Spain.
After the death of his brother Joseph I, Karl became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and inherited the Habsburg provinces in central Europe.
Karl VI was very attached to the way of life he had led in Spain and introduced Spanish court etiquette to Vienna.
The Habsburg Empire reached its greatest expansion during the first half of the 18th century and the political events in Spain, Italy and Poland brought the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium) and the Italian provinces Milan, Mantua, Parma, Piacenza, and Tuscany under Habsburg rule.
Joseph II was the eldest son of Maria Theresia and Francis Stephan of Lorraine. Maria Theresia had already given birth to three daughters, two of whom had died very early.
The birth of a son and heir was celebrated exuberantly by the Imperial Family.
In 1764 Joseph was elected King of the Holy Roman Empire and in 1765, after the sudden death of his father, he automatically succeeded to the throne as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
As before, Maria Theresia remained responsible for the affairs of state and procedures of the Habsburg crown lands.
His first wife, Isabella of Parma, whom he loved passionately, died of smallpox about three years after the marriage.
In 1765 he married Maria Josepha of Bavaria. This was more of a political marriage than anything else. Maria Josepha also died of smallpox in 1767.
Joseph was made co-regent by his mother until her death in 1780, after which he was able to proceed with the majority of his reforms.
Compared to his mother Joseph was more ideological, less flexible and often less successful. During his reign Vienna grew from being merely the sovereign's place of residence to become the capital of the Empire; the centre of politics and administration.
Austria's finances were balanced and the reorganisation of the army secured Austria's position in Europe.
The Ceremonial Hall
The paintings in this room are by the school of Martin van Meytens and show the five-day wedding of Maria Theresia's eldest son Joseph II to Isabella of Parma.
Presentation of the wedding in chronological order:
The large painting in the centre shows the wedding procession with its ninety-five coaches in the centre of Vienna. The magnificent procession is passing toward the Augustinerstraße in the centre of Vienna, which looks much the same today. The artists were obliged to leave out all the buildings to allow the observer to appreciate the procession.
The midday meal (gold-service) in the Hofburg
The wedding ceremony in the Augustine Church
The evening meal (silver-service) in the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg
The last painting shows the musical festivities taking place after the wedding.
The painting in the centre shows Maria Theresia.
The Hamilton Room (Rössel Room)
The name ‘Rössel’ is more of an Austrian rather than German word and means ‘horse’.
The paintings of the world-famous Lipizzaner horses gave the room its name.
The horses were bred in a small village called Lipica in Slovenia. The foals are born dark in colour and change to white over a period of some six years.
The paintings are by Philipp Ferdinand de Hamilton and his brother Jean Georg de Hamilton.
Both painters were sons of the Scottish painter James Hamilton. His third son, Karl Wilhelm de Hamilton, was called the ‘Thistle-Hamilton’.
The three Hamilton sons were born in Brussels but spent their careers in central Europe and specialised in animal and still-life paintings.
The Marshal's Table
The dining table is a reconstruction of a lithography dated 1862 showing the Rössel Room as a dining room set-out for high military officers.
The invited guests of the Emperor would arrive and dine in rooms like this whilst the Emperor himself would be in the main dining room together with other members of the Imperial family.
The Blue Chinese Drawing Room
The wallpaper in this room is Chinese, and is hand-painted on Chinese rice paper. The rice paper is mounted onto fabrics before being stretched and attached to a wooden frame.
Bust of Austria's last Emperor Karl I
Karl was the son of Archduke Otto and grandnephew and successor of Emperor Franz Joseph.
In this room on the 11th November 1918 Emperor Karl I renounced his right to participate in the affairs of state. He gave the ruling of the country over to the Republic (declaration of the first republic of Austria 12th November 1918), but refused to abdicate or renounce his right to the throne.
The Imperial family then departed from Vienna and moved to Eckartsau in Lower Austria until they then finally left Austria and went into exile. Karl I died just four years later in 1922 on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
His wife, the Empress Zita, died in 1989 at the age of ninety-seven.
Zita remained loyal to the Habsburg claim to the throne and was not permitted to enter Austria until the Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky lifted the restrictions in 1982.
On the 1st April 1989, she was given something very near to an ‘Imperial’ state funeral in Vienna and is now buried in the tomb of the Habsburgs (Imperial Crypt).
Karl I is buried on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
In 1916, after his accession to the throne, Karl quickly sought a means of negotiating a separate peace with the allies and putting an end to the First World War. However, these efforts led to friction between Austria and Germany.
The new monarch feared that Austria's future was doomed by its alliance with Germany and tried to reach a peace settlement with the Allies by using his Bourbon-Parma brothers-in-law as emissaries. Karl sent peace offers to Georges Clemenceau, the French Prime Minister, in an effort to bring an end to the war, but France rejected his plans.
Germany became worried and decided to keep a watchful eye on the actions taken by the young Austrian Emperor and for the rest of the war Austria was exposed to close German surveillance.
The future of the Empire and monarchy became more and more dependent on the outcome of the war. Even though Russia had withdrawn its troops in the east, it became very hard to maintain the stability of the German front in the west.
After the United States had entered the war on the side of the Allies in 1917 and Germany’s military offensive in the spring of 1918 failed completely, Germany was no longer able to continue its war effort.
Immediately after the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the Empire and the monarchy started to crumble.
The Blessed Karl
In October 2004, Pope John Paul II beatified the last Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Karl I.
The Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints credits Karl with a miracle concerning a Brazilian nun who was able to walk for the first time in years after offering prayers for his beatification. (This is the step prior to canonisation). Proof of another miracle is required before the decision to canonise (sainthood) can be made.
The Vieux-Laque-Room (The Old Lacquer Room)
The main painting shows Maria Theresia's husband, Franz I, Holy Roman Emperor from 1745 until 1765.
- The painting on the right shows Maria Theresia's eldest sons, Joseph and Leopold.
- The painting on the left shows Leopold's wife, Maria Ludovica of Spain.
In 1736, Maria Theresia married Franz Stephan von Lothringen (Francis Stephen of Lorraine). The French objected to the union of Lorraine with the Habsburg lands forcing Franz Stephan to exchange his Duchy for the right of succession to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
Franz Stephan was a financial wizard and a supporter of the arts. He was for instance the founder of the Botanical Gardens and also Schönbrunn's Menagerie, which is the oldest existing zoo in the world dating back to 1752.
After the death of her husband, Maria Theresia changed Franz Stefan's study into a memorial room for her beloved husband, which is now known as the Vieux-Laque Room.
The floor is one of the oldest in Schönbrunn. The black lacquer works were originally Chinese folding screens that were brought to Austria, cut, and then used for decorating rooms such as this.
The Napoleon Room
Some of Maria Theresia's rooms underwent great changes during the 19th century leaving rooms like Maria Theresia's bedroom bearing little resemblance to the room as it was in the 18th century.
The 18th century tapestries are Flemish and were brought to Schönbrunn in the latter part of the 19th century for the occasion of the World Exhibition of 1873.
The main tapestry shows the withdrawal of troops during the Spanish Succession war.
This room has been used for many purposes over the centuries and is presently known as the Napoleon Room.
Napoleon occupied Vienna twice, once in 1805 and then again in 1809. On both occasions, Schönbrunn was Napoleon's main headquarters and he used this room as his bedroom.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the 15th August 1769 on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.
His ruthless efficiency as a military commander brought him the fame he craved, taking him from obscurity to become Napoleon I, Emperor of France, and a legend.
Napoleon, one of the greatest military commanders of his time, claimed he had attempted to build a Federation of Free Peoples in a Europe, united under one rule, by concentrating power into his own hands.
Napoleon created efficient governments, promoted education, science, literature and the arts, abolished feudalism, granted constitutions and introduced new law codes. He also centralised the government of France by appointing Prefects to administer the regions, known as departments, into which France was divided.
One of his greatest achievements was the revision of the French law into codes. These new law codes incorporated some of the freedoms gained by the people of France during the French Revolution, including religious tolerance and the abolition of serfdom. The most famous of the codes, the ‘Code Napoleon’, still forms the basis of French civil law.
In 1814, after the battle of Waterloo and the fall of Napoleon, the monarchy in France was restored.
When Napoleon was imprisoned on St. Helena, his wife Maria Louise returned to Vienna, bringing Napoleon's only legitimate son, the Duke of Reichstadt and King of Rome, with her to Schönbrunn.
Duke of Reichstadt
Napoleon's son lived together with the Imperial family in their residences, until he died of tuberculosis in this room in 1832 at the age of twenty-one.
In 1940 Adolf Hitler ordered the body of the Duke of Reichstadt to be taken from the tomb of the Habsburgs (Kapuzinergruft) to Paris.
The Duke’s Lark
Beneath the stand on which a lark can be seen perching is a hand-written dedication claiming it was the ‘pet’ of the Duke of Reichstadt:
XII 1832. 12.
Lark (Latin = Alauda cristata )
17 years and 5 months attained age.
Initially, in possession ............ Crown-Prince
.... of ............ Reichstadt and given
to the cabinet* by Count of Foresti.
* Natural History Museum, Vienna
The 18th century Flemish tapestries, which were brought to Schönbrunn during the latter part of the 19th century, hide the original decorations of the room.
In 2005, attempts were made to document the original decorations of the Napoleon Room as it was in the early 19th century.
The original ‘toxic’ wallpaper of that time was found underneath the tapestries and research work regarding the possibility of restoring the room was immediately undertaken.
Early patterned wallpaper is known to contain the toxic element arsenic. Exposure to such wallpaper could have slowly poisoned the occupants due to the intake of toxic fumes, especially if their chambers were damp.
Examination of Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair suggests that he may have died of arsenic poisoning during his exile. It is also thought that the source of the arsenic poisoning could have been the green-painted toxic wallpaper that decorated his rooms on St. Helena.
Here it is worth mentioning that the Napoleon Room in Schönbrunn could have had a detrimental effect on the health of someone like the Duke of Reichstadt who occupied this room.
The Imperial Crypt
The Imperial Crypt in the Capuchin Church is situated in the centre of Vienna (Neuer Markt) and was founded by Anna, the wife of the Emperor Matthias, in 1618.
A Capuchin monastery was established, together with the Imperial Crypt, within the city walls of Vienna. The Capuchin monks were given the privilege of ‘custodians of the tomb’ a position they still hold to the present day.
The laying of the foundation stone took place on the 8th September 1622. The church and vault was completed in 1633 and is now the last resting place for the majority of the Imperial family.
The Habsburgs were placed to rest in three different churches:
Their hearts are kept in the ‘Heart Chamber’ of the Loretto Chapel of the Augustine Church, the intestines are in St. Stephan's Cathedral and the bodies were embalmed and then placed to rest in the Imperial Crypt of the Capuchin Church.
The Porcelain Room
The Porcelain Room is one of the oldest rooms in the building. The decorative wood carved designs of the wall panelling are painted to match the porcelain items within the room.
The clock and chandelier are made of porcelain.
The drawings dated 1763, were done by members of the Imperial family and are copies of originals by the famous painters Boucher and Pillemont.
French description dated 1763:
Chinese drawings by Boucher and Pillemont
by his Majesty the Emperor
and Archduchesses and Archduchess Marie
The Million's Room (Ficatin Room)
This is the most valuable room in Schönbrunn and its presence was first recorded in the year 1767.
The walls are decorated with Central American rosewood (Ficatin).
The Indo-Persian mogul miniatures date back to the 17th century. They were originally smaller and rectangular in shape but they were then cut, placed together and fitted into the rococo framework.
During the Second World War Schönbrunn was stripped of its most valuable treasures in an attempt to prevent them being damaged. The Millions Room was one of the rooms completely dismantled. All the decorations were numbered and taken to the salt mines of Salzburg for safe keeping until after the war.
Two years were needed for the reinstallation of this room, putting it back together like a jigsaw puzzle.
The original miniatures were removed in the 1980s and replaced with photographs. The originals have since been restored and are now kept under special climatic conditions to prevent further environmental damage.
In 2011 a three-year-program of intensive restoration work began in the Millions Room. The fading photos that had served their purpose for nearly three decades were removed. The ceiling was restored in 2012 and the delicate gilded ornamentation was removed from the wall panelling. The rosewood panelling was then dismantled and restored. Subsequently copies of the newly restored Mogul miniatures will be put back into place before the ornamentation can be finally remounted in 2013.
The Miniature Room
The small room on the right-hand side of the Millions Room is the so-called ‘Miniature Room’. It derives its name from the beautiful 18th century miniatures which were drawn by members of the Imperial family.
The Tapestry Room
Franz Joseph's parents, the Archduke Franz Karl and his wife Sophie had used this salon as a drawing room.
Adaptations were made to this section of the Palace for the occasion of the World Exhibition of 1873. The 18th century Flemish tapestries are from the Imperial collection. They were brought from the Imperial Palace in Budapest and mounted into the framework of the room. The motives of the six chairs not only show the sign of the zodiac but also a symbolic illustration of the twelve months of the year.
January - ice skating
February - carnival (Fasching)
September - harvesting apples
October - the making of wine barrels
The Archduchess Sophie's Study
The Archduchess Sophie is well-known for her influence during the troublesome years of the 1840s preceding Franz Joseph's reign. She supported Franz Joseph's claim to the throne, preferring to have a young emperor on the throne rather than her husband Franz Karl.
Sophie von Wittelsbach was born on the 27th January 1805 in Munich and was one of five daughters of King Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria. In November 1824 Sophie married the Archduke Franz Karl von Habsburg. She gave birth to Franz Joseph (1830), Ferdinand Maximilian (1832), Karl Ludwig (1833), Marianne (1835) and Ludwig Viktor (1842).
Archduchess Sophie possessed a dominating personality. She was conservative, maternally protective, extremely religious and was to devote her life to the future of her sons, especially Franz Joseph and Maximilian. The Archduchess conscientiously supervised the education of her sons and instilled in them an awareness of duty and moral obligation.
The revolution in 1848 dramatically changed the political attitude of the Imperial Family who did not wish to be tied by constitutional concessions. Sophie emerged as the strongest personality in the family and was often referred to as “the only man at court.”
The Imperial Court fled to Olmütz in October 1848 and announced the abdication of Ferdinand and Franz Joseph's accession to the throne. After returning to Vienna Sophie presided as first lady at the Imperial Court and began to dominate Franz Joseph's free-spirited cousin and young wife Elisabeth of Bavaria.
The first two decades of Franz Joseph’s reign were a very dreadful time for Sophie the ‘grey eminence’ as she had not only to witness the Habsburg losses in Italy in 1859, which were quickly followed by the Austro-Prussian War and defeat at the Battle of Königsgrätz in 1866 but also the upheavals in Mexico that led to the execution of her second son Maximilian in 1867.
The Red Salon
The first painting shows Leopold II (r. 1790-92).
Leopold II reversed many of the reforms undertaken by his brother Joseph II. He gave back to the church and the regional governing bodies much of their old power. Leopold also confirmed Hungary's right not to be subjected to the centralisation of the Empire and rule of Vienna, but to be ruled by him as King of Hungary in accordance with Hungary's own administration and laws.
The second painting shows Emperor Franz II/I, Napoleon's father-in-law and father of Maria Louise.
His second daughter Leopoldine married the Emperor of Brazil. She was to play an important role in the independence movement in Brazil and is now regarded as being a national heroine of the Republic of Brazil. In 1806, during the Napoleonic wars, circumstances forced Franz II to dissolve the Holy Roman Empire and he became Franz I of Austria after the foundation of the Austrian Empire in 1804.
The third painting shows Emperor Ferdinand I.
The last painting shows Ferdinand's wife, Maria Anna.
Emperor Ferdinand I (r. 1835 - 1848).
The Emperor Ferdinand was regarded a well-meaning (r. 1835-48) monarch but subject to fits of epilepsy that led to the chancellor of Austria (Metternich) becoming the main political mind behind the scenes.
Metternich managed to stabilise the Empire's financial situation but, at one and the same time, neglected the other political problems within the Empire.
The dissatisfaction in Hungary, Italy and the Slavic lands led to further problems creating the explosive situation that led to the revolution of 1848.
The government lost control of events in March 1848 and the revolution started to take its hold in Austria. Metternich was forced to resign and fled to London. At the same time in Germany, German nationalists and liberals had formed the Frankfurt Assembly and suspended the German Confederation, a move that was later to pave the way for German unification.
The conflict between different ethnic nationalists and liberal ideologies grew.
Ethnic Germans of Bohemia were represented at the Frankfurt Assembly, but the Czech Nationalists refused to take part and decided to plan their own constitution for a unification of the Slavs within the Habsburg Empire.
This was an attempt to prevent the ethnic Germans expanding their influence on the Slavic parts of central and southern Europe.
These moves, together with the liberal reforms in Hungary, led to the Austrian Emperor being compelled to allow a constitutional assembly. The first parliament in Austrian history was opened in July 1848 and held its meetings in the Winter Riding School of Vienna's Hofburg.
The Austrian army under General Windischgrätz and General Field Marshal Jelacic re-established law and order in Vienna and Prague by use of military force and General Radetzky regained control of Lombardy-Venetia in August 1848.
Emperor Ferdinand abdicated in December 1848 in favour of his nephew Franz Joseph.
Franz Joseph, trained by his mother from infancy for his future role as Emperor, spent the summers of his childhood and youth at Schönbrunn and after 1848 Schönbrunn was to become the monarch's favourite residence.
The East Terrace Room
The East Terrace Room was restored in the 1960s and shows the original decorations which date back to the year 1775.
The ceiling fresco is by Johann Zagelmann.
The Bedchamber – Reiches Zimmer
This was originally the bedroom of the Archduke Franz Karl and the Archduchess Sophie during the 19th century.
Emperor Franz Joseph was born in this room on the 18th August 1830.
The Bedchamber with its gold embroidered decorations and red velvet hangings as we see it today is the so-called ‘Reiche Zimmer’ (Rich Room) and originally belonged to the Imperial Apartments in the Hofburg in Vienna. It dates back to the year 1737 and includes the only remaining state bed of the Imperial court.
During the Second World War, some of the rooms in the Hofburg such as this room were completely dismantled , packed and stored in the cellars of the main residence.
In 1979 the contents of Maria Theresia's Bedchamber were restored, then brought to Schönbrunn and put on display to the public during the Maria Theresia Exhibition of 1980 (200th anniversary of Maria Theresia's death).
After the exhibition, the bedchamber remained in this room and was again completely restored between 1995 - 1997. The room was then adapted into a climate zone in order to prevent further environmental damage.
Room 38, 39
The Archduke Franz Karl's Study
and Franz Karl's Drawing Room
These two rooms were part of the Archduke Franz Karl's suite during the 19th century.
The paintings in these rooms show members of the Imperial family as seen by the Imperial court painter, Martin van Meytens during the 18th century. The only exemption being the painting of Maria Theresia's governess and intimate friend, the Countess Fuchs, who is the only non-Habsburg given the privilege of being buried together with the Habsburgs in the tomb of the Habsburgs in the centre of Vienna. A famous painting in this room shows Maria Theresia and Franz Stephan together with eleven of their sixteen children.