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Lavatory and Bathroom (c) Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H, Photo: Alexander Eugen Koller

Facing the Amalia Wing courtyard, behind the Dressing Room, are the empress’s Lavatory and Bathroom, which were refurbished in 1876 during Elisabeth’s occupancy.

Notable features include the lavatory bowl in the shape of a dolphin and the small washbasin. Empress Elisabeth was however not the first member of the imperial family to enjoy the comfort of a flush lavatory, as has frequently been assumed. As early as 1835 an ‘odourless convenience on the English model’ was installed on the second floor of the Leopoldine Wing of the Vienna Hofburg for Archduchess Sophie, Elisabeth’s mother-in-law.

The first indications of a bathroom being installed in the Hofburg date from 1826, with an entry in an inventory recording a ‘bathing room’ redecorated in 1810/12 in the apartments of Empress Maria Ludovica, the third wife of Emperor Franz II (I).

As part of the remodelling undertaken in 1876 Elisabeth also had a bathroom installed, in a small room that had hitherto been used as a storeroom, immediately adjacent to the lavatory. Most of the room’s original features have been preserved, including the galvanised copper bath tub. A notable feature is the original linoleum flooring, put down to prevent water damage to the parquet. The walls of the bathroom were decorated with floral textile hangings, which are still extant today though concealed beneath the replica hangings for reasons of conservation. The mirrors are decorated with painted peonies.

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