Special thanks to the Microsoft Corporation for permission to use following biographical information from Microsoft® Encarta '97:
Charles Willson Peale was an American painter who was the most prominent portraitist of the Federal period. He studied in London with the American-born historical painter Benjamin West in 1767 and settled permanently in Philadelphia in 1776. Peale painted notable portraits of many military leaders, including 14 of George Washington. He was also an enthusiastic naturalist and established (1786) a museum of specimens in Independence Hall, Philadelphia. In 1805 he helped found Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. One of Peale's best-known works is his life-size trompe l'oeil (“fool the eye”) portrait of two of his sons, The Staircase Group (1795, Philadelphia Museum of Art, an affectionate work showing them mounting a spiral staircase. Several of his 17 children also became painters, notably the still-life artist Raphaelle Peale and the portraitist Rembrandt Peale.