The Company of Captain Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch ('The Nightwatch')

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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This is an early, small-scale copy of one of the world’s most famous paintings, Rembrandt’s The Night Watch of 1642 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). Rembrandt’s commission was to paint a huge group portrait of musketeers under the command of Captain Frans Banning Cocq. At the time, companies of volunteers like these, known as militia groups, were an important part of the defence arrangements for Dutch cities. Membership and leadership positions were held in high esteem.

This picture is far smaller than the original – about 0.5 square metres compared with nearly 16 square metres – but it is a vital historical document. It records details which were lost when The Night Watch was cut down on all sides, probably in 1715. The two men and a child on the extreme left no longer appear in Rembrandt’s painting, and the National Gallery copy also shows more of the drummer on the right.

The National Gallery, London



The Company of Captain Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch ('The Nightwatch')


after 1642


Oil on oak


H 66.8 x W 85.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bequeathed by the Revd Thomas Halford, 1857

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The National Gallery, London

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