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Thomas Hees with his Nephews Jan and Andries Hees and a Servant

Thomas Hees served as a diplomat in Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli. Among other duties, he negotiated the purchase of the freedom of Dutch slaves and protested against the privateering of Dutch ships. Hees had himself portrayed in a relaxed pose, smoking, and surrounded by the treasures he had acquired in North Africa. An inscription on the back of this painting gives his servant’s name and age: ‘Thom…