Charles F. Lanman was born in Monroe, Michigan, in 1819. He studied engraving with Asher B. Durand; his influences included Thomas Cole, John Kensett, and Frederic Church. He studied at the Plymouth Academy in Massachusetts, and then worked at the East India mercantile house in New York while also working as an artist. He then spent several years as a journalist in Michigan and Ohio before settling in Washington, DC, in 1848. There he held a number of government posts and pursued a literary career. His writings include Dictionary of the United States Congress (1859) and Letters from a Landscape Painter (1845). He also catalogued the collection of W.W. Corcoran in 1857. After his stint in Washington, he continued to paint, taking trips around the country. He was friends with Long Island artists William Sidney Mount and Shepard Alonzo Mount. He exhibited at the National Academy several times in the 1870s and 80s. He died in Washington in 1895.