Child’s armour, Augsburg, 1565
This child’s armour was manufactured by the famous armourer Anton Pfeffenhauser, active in Augsburg between 1545 and 1603. He worked for numerous crowned heads of the era.
This three-quarter-length armour (reaching to the knee) was realized for a boy aged 5 or 6. The helmet is a burgonet and, like the armour, richly decorated.
The armour seemed to have been made for the coronation of Maximilian II in 1564 and was intended for his son Albert, born in 1559 and future Governor of the Netherlands. Crown prince Joseph-Ferdinand of Bavaria, son of Maximilian-Emmanuel (Governor of the Spanish Netherlands from 1691 to 1706) is said to have worn this armour too.
Note: Joseph-Ferdinand (1692-1699) was heir to the Spanish throne. His family connections made him the perfect consensus figure for the job. His premature death triggered the Spanish Succession Wars, which would make our territories pass into Austrian hands in 1714.
This armour was one of the pieces taken from the Coudenberg Palace by the Austrians in 1794. The Belgian government reclaimed it after the First World War and it was returned to the collection in 1922.