Levi Lincoln was born in Hingham, Massachusetts, on May 15, 1749. He graduated from Harvard in 1772 and studied law under Joseph Hawley. When the Battle of Lexington occurred he volunteered to fight with the Minute Men. From 1775 to 1781 he served as clerk of the court and probate judge of Worcester County. Though elected to the Continental Congress in 1781, he declined to serve. Lincoln was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1796 and of the Senate in 1797. In 1800 he was elected to Congress and served until March 5, 1801, when President Jefferson appointed him Attorney General of the United States. He held the office until March 3, 1805. Lincoln was a member of the Council of Massachusetts in 1806, and served as Lieutenant Governor in 1807-1808. Upon the death of James Sullivan, he became Governor, but was not elected in 1809. In 1811 he was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court but declined. He died in Worcester, Massachusetts, on April 14, 1820.
The artist was born in Taunton, Massachusetts. As a youth he was apprenticed to an engraver, but after 1837 he devoted himself to portrait painting in Providence, Rhode Island, and remained in that city until his death. In 1865 he painted Attorney General Lincoln's portrait. Among his other works are portraits of David Howell, Asa Messer and Samuel Slater. A number of his paintings are in the Brown University Collection in Providence, Rhode Island.