The sitter (Rotterdam 1757-1833 Boston) studied law at the University of Leyden, and, as a member of a patrician family, went to the East Indies, where he became President of the Magistrature under Governor Wiese. When Wiese was replaced by Daendels, with whom he had a lesser good understanding, Van Polanen returned to the Netherlands where he published his views about the political situation the colony in 1816. His rehabilitation came in 1829, when he was appointed member of the Advisory Board for East India. By that time, he had settled in North America, where he died in 1833 (see A.J. van der Aa, Biografisch Woordenboek der Nederlanden, IX, 1872, pp.116-117).