Armorer: Signature probably refers to Jean Drouart (French, Paris, died before October 1715)
Date: dated 1712
Culture: French, Paris
Medium: Steel, gold, brass, silk, cotton, metallic yarn, paper
Dimensions: H. 28 in. (71.1 cm)
Classification: Armor for Child
Credit Line: Purchase, Armand Hammer, Occidental Petroleum Corporation Gift, 1989
Accession Number: 1989.3
This royal armor, possibly the last made in Europe, is believed to have been presented to the five-year-old Infante Luis (1701–1724), prince of Asturias, by his great-grandfather Louis XIV of France (1638–1715, r. 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 may refer to André Drouart, a royal armorer recorded from 1674 to 1688 who must have been one of the last armorers active in France by 1712.
Remarkable for its state of preservation, the armor retains its lustrous blue and gold surfaces and nearly all its 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.