Born in Boston in 1761, Mather Brown (1761-1831) was one of several American artists whose professional careers began in the United States and developed in England. From 1777, Brown worked predominantly as an itinerant portrait and miniature painter in Peekskill, New York, where he was also a wine merchant. Travelling briefly to Paris in 1780 where he stayed with fellow artist Benjamin Franklin, Brown soon arrived in London where, equipped with a letter of introduction from Franklin, he sought out the American painter Benjamin West. West took on his new pupil free of charge, and helped the young artist to achieve early recognition in England. Brown enjoyed distinguished patronage through the 1780s, painting royalty, aristocrats, and American notables. He exhibited eighty pictures at the Royal Academy, but was denied membership of the Academy three times. His fortunes were on the wane in the late 1790s and he left London in 1808 to teach and work in the provinces. He later died in London in 1831.