Colossal bust of Emperor Franz

In the gardens of the Renaissance and the baroque period, it was rare for there to be monuments to historical figures. Far too often, these types of gardens were a microcosmic and mythological world of rediscovered antiquity. Only in the "English gardens" of the romantic Enlightenment did profane history become a theme of the iconography.

The Temple (or rather, altar) of the British Worthies in Stowe (England, Buckinghamshire) was the first place where busts of famous historical figures (politicians, scientists, warlords etc.) from English history and the present were erected in about 1730-1740. The "English" garden thus also became a place of commemoration, and consequently the urban parks and gardens of the 19th century were full of monuments to important figures.

KollossalbüsteThe bust of Emperor Franz, also referred to as a monument, had already been planned around the time of the Vienna Congress at the "Einsiedelei-Platz", but was only realised after his death. The city of Milan presented this marble bust on a granite plinth created by the sculptor G. B. Comolli to Empress Caroline Augusta while the emperor was still alive, but it was only erected in Laxenburg in 1836.

The Latin inscription on the front reads as follows in English:
"Franz, Emperor of Austria, born in Florence on 12 February 1768, died in Vienna on 2 March 1835."
The inscription on the rear reads:
"The truly wise and noble Emperor, who retired from the business of government to these gardens, so wonderfully maintained by him. He knew the names and origins of the plants and trees. His pious and simple common sense was nourished by the natural beauty of his abode, where he delighted in rural diversions. His wife Caroline Augusta, grieved deeply beyond his death.

At present, very old arborvitaes, a box elder, a catalpa and ashes forming a grove surround this monument. Four mighty hackberry trees form the border behind the bust of Emperor Franz I and, a few years ago, this precious botanical ensemble was supplemented with a rare yellow-blooming horse chestnut.