Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Church was raised in a prosperous, long-established New England family where his artistic and cultural interests were nurtured from a young age. In 1844 Church traveled as a teenager to Catskill, New York to study painting with Thomas Cole, the foremost landscape painter of his time. In the years to follow, he became the nation’s most celebrated landscape painter of the late 1840s and 1850s, never wavering in his connection to the Hudson Valley and its landscape. In 1860 Church settled in the valley and established his home, Olana. For Church, the design of estate grounds was an easy extension of his artistic interests, the result of which revealed the link between Church’s pursuits as a painter of landscapes and the allied art form of landscape gardening.