Conant was born in Chelsea, Vermont, in 1821 and died in 1915. He became well known for his portraits of leading statesmen while visiting in Washington, D. C., in the 1880's. He painted, among others, Lincoln, Sherman, Sumpter and Edward Bates , the twenty-sixth Attorney General. It was during this time (1863) that the Breckinridge painting was commissioned. It is obvious, since Breckinridge had been deceased for 63 years, that Conant was copying from an earlier picture.
Conant was also an archeologist, an author, and founder of the Western Academy of Art in St. Louis, Missouri.