Samuel Jennings was a native Philadelphian who spent most of his life painting in England. Scant details of his early life are known; it is believed that he was born c. 1755. He attended the College of Philadelphia from 1770 to 1773. Jennings taught drawing and painted portraits and miniatures. In 1787, he traveled to London, carrying a letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin, to study with Benjamin West. In London, his paintings were exhibited repeatedly at the Royal Academy and the British Institution. Most of these works were allegorical or history paintings.