Hugh Swinton Legaré was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on January 2, 1797. He graduated from the College of South Carolina in 1814. For the next three years he studied law, then travelled in Europe, studying French in Paris, Roman law, philosophy, mathematics and chemistry in Edinburgh. Upon his return to South Carolina in 1820, he was elected to the South Carolina State Legislature. He served until 1822 and from 1824 to 1830 when he was elected State attorney general. In 1832, he was Charge d'Affaires at Brussels. Upon his return to the United States, he was elected to Congress. He served from 1837 until 1839. President Tyler appointed him Attorney General of the United States in 1841. He died in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1843, while attending ceremonies at the unveiling of the Bunker Hill Monument.
Stanley was a portrait and landscape painter who specialized in scenes of Indian life in the West. Born in New York, he travelled extensively throughout the West and settled in Detroit in 1834 where he took up portrait painting. After 1850 he deposited his "Indian Gallery" at the Smithsonian Institution in hopes the Federal Government would purchase it. His hopes were not realized, but he remained in Washington, D.C, for the next decade. Tragically, his collection was almost totally destroyed by fire while being exhibited at the Smithsonian in 1865.
Stanley's portrait of Attorney General Legaré was copied from a painting by E. D. Marchant in 1858.