Richard Olney was born in Oxford, Worcester County, Massachusetts, on September 15, 1835. He prepared for college at Leicester Academy in Worcester County, graduated from Brown University in 1856, and received the degree of LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1858. Olney was admitted to the bar in 1859 and entered the office of Honorable Benjamin F. Thomas of Boston. He served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1874. On March 6, 1893, President Cleveland appointed him Attorney General of the United States. On June 8, 1895, Olney was appointed Secretary of State to fill the vacancy created by the death of Secretary Walter Q. Gresham. He took the oath of office on June 10, 1895. Olney died on April 8, 1917 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Vos was born in Maastricht, Holland, and studied in Rome, Paris, and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. In 1887 he established a studio in London and opened two art schools. Portraits became his specialty and he won gold medals for his work in Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Dresden and Brussels. He emigrated to the United States in 1892 and became a naturalized citizen in 1898. His portrait of Attorney General Olney was painted in 1895.