The designation "throne room" dates back to the use of the Residenz by the Habsburgers (from 1816). The Austrian rulers were domiciled here until 1918. On a state visit lasting several days in 1867, the French Emperor Napoleon III was received here, not in Vienna, by Emperor Franz Joseph I.
The Assembly Room
In the days of the prince-archbishops, this was the assembly room, where court banquets were held. Under the ceiling fresco, which shows a feast of the ancient gods, festive banquets were organised regularly for up to 30 members of the royal household, accompanied by music.
A court banquet was also an important demonstration of prestige. The seating plan, service, variety and quality of the food, the number of courses, the quantity and quality of the beverages, and costly tableware showed the rank of the occasion and the importance of the guests. The prince-archbishop himself sat under a canopy at the high table on a dais.
A banquet proceeded like a well-staged theatrical performance, with a retinue of nobles in the role of servants and Tafelmusik in the background. A trumpeter signalled the start, calling the high-ranking guests to table. The artistically decorated (and probably no longer very warm) dishes were carried in stately manner from the kitchen, one at a time, preceded by the Stäbelmeister, staff in hand. According to the court regulations decreed by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau (1587-1612), stewards had "to serve up the food and to attend with particular diligence at table".
The quality of a chef at the court was demonstrated by his skill in captivating the senses with ever new creations. The dishes were elaborately prepared, cakes and pastries shaped into veritable sculptures. Even the prince-archbishop at table was modelled as a sweetmeat, and likenesses of his illustrious guests shown on little sugared almonds. Neither expense nor effort was spared.
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