Possibly the last royal armor made in Europe, this is believed to have been presented to the five-year-old Infante Luis (1707–1724), prince of Asturias, by his great-grandfather Louis XIV of France (1638–1715, reigned from 1643). Luis was the first Spanish-born Bourbon heir to the throne of Spain and ruled briefly as Luis I in 1724. The armor is signed and dated on the backplate Drouar Ordinaire du Roi aux Heaume à Paris 1712 (Drouar, armorer-in-ordinary to the king, at the sign of the helm, in Paris, 1712). The signature probably refers to Jean Drouart (died before October 1715), a royal armorer. Drouart was one of the last practicing armorers active in France by 1712. Remarkable for the state of its preservation, the armor retains its lustrous blue and gold surfaces and nearly all the original red silk lining. The gilt rivet heads are of heraldic design—the lion of León, the castle of Castile, and the fleur-de-lis of France—representing the dynastic claims to which Luis was heir.
Signature: Signed: Drouar Ordinaire du Roi aux Heaume à Paris 1712 (Drouar, armorer-in-ordinary to the king, at the sign of the helm, in Paris, 1712)
Artist: Part of the decoration design by Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))Date: ca. 1555Medium: Steel, gold, silver, leather, textileAccession: 39.121a–nOn view in:Gallery 374
Artist: Helmet includes original paper label of Hallé (French, Paris, active ca. 1780–1800)Date: ca. 1788–90Medium: Linen, papier-mâché, bole, gold leaf, graphite (helmet); silk, cotton, metal coils and spangles, metallic yarn (tunic)Accession: 1988.65.1–.2On view in:Gallery 376