The Court Linen Room

Theo Zasche: In the Court Linen Room, drawing, 1898

Fine linen was an important element of maintaining appearances at the Imperial table.

Theo Zasche: In the Court Linen Room, drawing, 1898

For this reason the Imperial household included not only the Court Kitchen, the Court Cellar and the Court Confectioner, but also a Court Linen Room. From 1809 onward the Court Linen Room became an independent court office, responsible for washing, ironing, storing and, when necessary, replacing all the kitchen and table linen in the court.

Two kinds of linen were needed for the Imperial table: the "mouth linen", consisting of table cloths and serviettes, and the court table linen which included cloths used to wrap dishes and food.

The Imperial Court Linen Room was situated on the Danube canal. In 1902 the rooms of the court linen room were relocated to the ground floor of the Reichskanzleitrakt of the Vienna Hofburg. This is where the court laundresses worked during the days of the Empire, and this former court office has been kept alive by the Second Republic. Even today the housekeepers of the Federal Furniture Administration fold serviettes in these rooms in preparation for the State dinners hosted by the Federal President. It is here that is kept the "state secret" of the correct way to fold the Emperor's serviettes.