Syndics of the Drapers' Guild

The Sampling Officials
Dutch: De Staalmeesters
Artist Rembrandt
Year 1662
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 191.5 cm × 279 cm (75.4 in × 110 in)
Location Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Sampling Officials (Dutch: De Staalmeesters), also called Syndics of the Drapers' Guild, is a 1662 oil painting by Rembrandt. It is currently owned by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.[1] It has been described as his "last great collective portrait".[2]

The men (with the exception of Bel who is an attendant as indicated by his calotte) are drapers who were elected to assess the quality of cloth that weavers offered for sale to members of their guild. Their one-year terms in office began on Good Friday and they were expected to conduct their inspections thrice weekly. The Dutch word staal means 'sample' and refers to the samples of cloth that were assessed. The inspectors used pliers to press the seals of their city (front) and guild (reverse) into penny-sized slugs of lead that were specially affixed to record the results of the inspection.[3] There were four grades of quality, the highest was indicated by pressing four seals and the lowest by pressing only one.

The men, who are appraising a length of Persian-style fabric against exemplars from a swatch book, are (from left to right):

The guild commissioned this portrait and it hung in their guildhall, the Staalhof (nl), until 1771.

The painting is used on the packaging of Dutch Masters cigars.


  1. The Sampling Officials. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
  2. The Worldwide Art Gallery. "Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606 - 1669)". Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  3. Juran, Joseph M., ed. (1995), A History of Managing for Quality: The Evolution, Trends, and Future Directions of Managing for Quality, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The American Society for Quality Control, p. 229, ISBN 9780873893411, OCLC 32394752
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