William Maxwell Evarts was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 6, 1818. He graduated with honors from Yale in 1837. He studied law at Harvard Law School and in the office of Daniel Lord in New York City. He was admitted to the New York bar in 1841. From 1849 to 1853 he was assistant district attorney for the Southern District of New York. In 1868 he was principal counsel to President Johnson in his impeachment trial. On July 15, 1868, President Johnson appointed Evarts Attorney General of the United States, an office he held until March 3, 1869. In 1876 he was the chief counsel of the Republican Party before the Electoral Commission. Evarts served as Secretary of State under President Hayes (1877-1881). In 1881 he was the United States delegate to the International Monetary Conference at Paris. On March 4, 1885, he became United States Senator. Evarts died on February 28, 1901, in New York City.
Born in Newton, Pennsylvania, Hicks began painting at 15. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and at the Academy of Design in New York. In 1845 he went to Europe to study under Thomas Couture in Paris. Upon his return to America, he painted portraits of many notables, including Henry Ward Beecher, William C. Bryant, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Abraham Lincoln. His portrait of Attorney General Evarts was painted in 1869.