Rembrandt painted the fifty year old Floris Soop (1604-1657), a wealthy bachelor and ensign, or standard bearer, in a civic guard company of his native Amterdam.
Soop lived in a large town house called the Glashuys (Glass House) on Kleveniers Burgh-wal (now 105), next door to Jan Six on Kleveniers Burgh-wal (now 103), whose magnificent portrait was painted by Rembrandt in the same year as the canvas of Floris Soop, 1654.
Like Six, Floris Soop was a regent of the Amsterdam theater, and the cultivated neighbors must have been acquinted for quite some time before Rembrandt painted their portraits.
The first municipal theatre of Amsterdam, inaugurated January 1638.
The Schouwburg opened with Joost van den Vondel’s Gijsbrecht van Aemstel, written especially for the occasion. Floris Soop was a regent of the Schouwburg in 1638.
At his death three years later, Soop owned 140 paintings as well as many books, a lute and three violas da gamba, and about a hundred of fine glassware, coins, and other collectibles.
Soop was baptized in the Nieuwe kerk, Amsterdam, on January 20, 1604.
The story of how he and his distinguished uncle Petrus Scriverius, came by their different surnames goes back two generations to Peter This, a surgeon, and his wife, Marie Jansdr Schrijver (Scriverius in Latin) The couple has two sons, Thijs and Hendrick, who after their father’s early death took their mother’s surname. Marie remarried, and her second husband Dirck Jansz van Beuningen, she had two more sons.
In 1575, Hendrick Jansz Schrijver married Cornelisgen Jansdr Soop, who came from a prominent family in Haarlem.
They had three sons , Pieter, Petrus Scriverius (1576-1660); Jan Hendricksz (1578-1638), who adopted his maternal grandfather’s surname, Soop; and Daniel, about whom is little known except that he died a bachelor.
Floris Soop’s parents, Jan Hendricksz Soop and Barbara Carel, married in 1598. She was the daughter of a wealthy Amsterdam entrepreneur, Jan Jansz Carel, who in 1601 purchased and expanded an Amsterdam glass factory that had been founded four years earlier by an Italian merchant. This was the future Glashuys, where in 1610 Babara Carel died in childbirth, leaving Jan Hendricksz Soop’s family with five (soon only four) children.
Jan Hendricksz oldest son was Jan Soop (1602-1655), who like his maternal grandfather, jan Carel became a captain in an Amsterdam civic guard company.
Soop died intestate, which in the absence of surviving parents, siblings, spouses, or children brought his nephews, Willem Schrijver of Amsterdam and Hendrick Schrijver of Oudewater (on behalf of the nearest surviving relative, Petrus Scriverius, who was eighty-one years old and blind) as well as members of the Carel family, to the Glashuys on May 3, 1657
Soop appears to have died not long before, outside Amsterdam, since his burial is not recorded there. The document is dated December 21, 1657
In addition to the Glashuys and the furniture and various collections it contained, Soop owned several houses in Haarlem, two gardens outside the Regulierspoort , some property in Hoorn, and land near Soest, where he and his late brother had a country house called Crachtwijck and Het Dorstighe Hert.
Once every procession was valued and debts were discounted, it was decided that the Carel family would walk away with a cash payment of 4,200 guilders from an estate worth ( or, more likely, underestimated to be worth) 36,600 guilders.
Everything else belonged to Petrus Scriverius, including some 140 pictures that he could not see.
The great majority of the works of art listed in Soop’s estate are not attributed to any artist. He owned drawings by Pieter Quast , which presumably reflected his interest in the Amsterdam Schouwburg. The only attributed painting were a seascape by Hendrick Vroom(1562-1640), a game piece by Elias Vonck (1605-1652), a landscape by Jan van Goyen and a landscape by Hercules Seeghers(1598/90 - 1633/38)
In the voorhuys hung portraits of ‘old captain Soop’ and his sons Jan, Floris and Pieter.
When the same three paintings were listed in the inventory of Willem Schrijver’s estate (October 26, 1661), each one was describes as “door hals gedaen” ( done by Hals, which could only have been Frans)
In the same room was “een conterfeytsel van capiteyn Soop met een Hondt” and “idem noch van Floris Soop soo groot als het leven” ( Floris as large as life). Rembrandt’s portrait of a standard bear shows the figure life size.
That paintings by Vonck and Vroom are attributed in the inventory (which was compiled by a notary) and those by Hals and Rembrandt pass without their names has to do with conspicuous signatures rather than reputations.
Two other unattributed portraits of Floris Soop were in the house, on in the voorhuis and one in het musyckcamertje.