News release: Highlights of the Schönbrunn Collection
Elisabeth Wittelsbach was undoubtedly one of the most interesting European historical figures of the 19th century, whose worldwide popularity has been growing steadily since. Therefore, the upcoming exhibition at the Royal Palace of Gödöllő is dedicated to Queen Elisabeth, displaying unique personal belongings of the Queen and her immediate family members.
On 18 July in Vienna, dr Tamás Ujváry, managing director of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő and Mag. Klaus Panholzer, managing director of Schönbrunn Group signed the contract that officially gave the green light to the Sisi on Tour exhibition. For the very first time, a selection of the most fascinating and Sisi-related items of the incredible collection of Schönbrunn will be shown outside of Vienna, and the first stop is Gödöllő.
The exhibition, which will open on 8 September, is the result of years of outstanding collaborative work of the two Palaces. The two most important Sisi cult places – both members of the European Royal Residences Association – can respectfully commemorate the 125th anniversary of Queen Elisabeth’s death with a joint seasonal exhibition. What makes this exhibition exceptional is that the Royal Palace of Gödöllő has never housed an exhibition owned and arranged by a foreign museum. Furthermore, the art objects arriving at the tourist centre are not only special but hold an immense value. Thanks to the cooperation of the cult places, visitors can learn about the personality and myths of the Queen as never before.
After the successful opening of the Sisi Museum at the Hofburg in Vienna in 2004, the collection strategy of the Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. (Schönbrunn Group for short) shifted the focus onto the expansion of the “Empress Elisabeth” collection. Today, the ever-growing assemblage consists of more than 1000 pieces, thus making it the biggest “Sisi-collection” in the world. The Viennese experts have arranged a travelling exhibition showcasing the most intriguing pieces that will debut at the Royal Palace of Gödöllő. The exhibition will display more than 200 art pieces of this collection.
The exhibition will show, for instance, the little silk gown and bonnet that Elisabeth wore at her christening. This cream-coloured, frilly dress is decorated with lace and floral embroidery. Visitors can also view a small, gilded container that is decorated with the imperial motto and the Holy Crown of Hungary. The item also contains soil from the ‘coronation hill’ of 8 June 1867. A small locket in which the photographs of Gisela and Rudolf lay was also made of gold. According to the engraving (“Mama 24. Dez. 1885”), the jewellery was given for the Queen’s birthday/Christmas by her children. As Queen Elisabeth was becoming more and more reclusive and tended to withdraw from the public eye, she started to wear lace veil and held a fan or an umbrella to hide her face from the prying eyes of onlookers and photographers. Hence, a special accessory, a black, lace-decorated, silk parasol that can be folded down to a length of 25 cm, will be shown as well. A painting by Lipót Horovitz will be on display in the last room of the exhibition. After the death of the Queen, he was commission by Franz Joseph to paint the portrait. The Queen is standing in front of a neutral background, she is wearing a black day dress, holding a fan in the painting. Besides the portraits of the members of the imperial house, documents (e.g.: the beauty regimens of the Queen), porcelain (e.g.: a porcelain set from Achilleion Palace, Corfu), textiles (e.g.: the gymnastic trousers of the Queen, the hunting vest of Crown Prince Rudolf), engravings and etchings can also be seen. The seasonal exhibition will be open between 8 September 2023 and 28 January 2024. The curator is Michael Wohlfart, Queen Elisabeth expert of the Sisi Museum, Vienna.
The signing of the cooperation agreement - 18 July 2023, Vienna (Mag. Klaus Panholzer managing director of Schönbrunn Group (left), dr Tamás Ujváry the managing director of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő)