Originally the dining room of the hunting lodge built for Joseph I, the Blue Staircase was remodelled by Nikolaus Pacassi around 1745 into a ceremonial stairway when it was converted into a residential and family palace for Maria Theresa.
When the Blue Staircase was restored in 2001/2, it was discovered that the shell ornamentation above the windows of the former dining room had originally been gilded and silvered. This had been covered over when the dining room was converted into a stairway during Maria Theresa’s reign.
In order to preserve a visible trace of the former décor this gilt shell ornamentation has been restored in one of the window embrasures.
The ceiling fresco, painted by the Italian artist Sebastiano Ricci in 1701/2, was not affected by the conversion, and represents a glorification of the heir to the throne, Joseph, depicted as a hero of war and man of virtue receiving the victor’s crown of laurels before the throne of eternity.
The portraits of Maria Theresa and Franz I Stephan commemorate the imperial couple as the initiators of the remodelling of the hunting lodge into a summer residence and the laying out of the Baroque gardens.