Renaissance Children

31st of March 2021

Two children’s rattles from Michel Wittock’s collection have the place of honour at the new Renaissance Children exhibition at the Hof van Busleyden Museum in Mechelen. Rattles are the oldest toys in the world and the two in this exhibition serve to illustrate the childhood of princes and princesses at the 16th century Court of Mechelen.

Crafted in silver and ivory, rattles often also carried a small bell or a wolf’s tooth that was believed would protect the child from illness or harm. Childhood mortality in this period was extremely high and these rattles demonstrate the importance accorded to the survival of the child heir.

The Raphaël De Smedt Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, has provided support for the publication of the prestigious catalogue that accompanies the exhibition.

Three generations of Habsburgs spent their childhood at the Court of Mechelen, which was the capital of the Burgundian Netherlands. Among them were Margaret of Austria, Philip the Handsome and Charles V, who would later become one of the most influential emperors of Europe. The Hof van Busleyden Museum’s exhibition Renaissance Children has assembled a series of paintings, objects and manuscripts that underline the historical importance of the role played by the Court of Mechelen in the education of royal children during the Renaissance.

To see until 4 July 2021.

Practical details:

Renaissance Children
From 26 March until 04 July 2021
Hof van Busleyden Museum
Frederik de Merodestraat 65
2800 Mechelen