Thomas Mickell Burnham was an American portrait, landscape and genre painter born in Boston, MA in 1818. He received informal arts training and completed his first trip abroad before relocating to Detroit, where he worked in a sign painting shop in 1836. Two years later he opened his own art studio, in which he focused on genre art, portraiture and satirical works. Two of his most prominent works that he painted at this time included First State Election in Detroit, Michigan, 1837 and The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1838. In 1840, Burnham returned to Boston, where he remained for 12 years. He began to focus more extensively on landscape and genre painting. His works were exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum, the National Academy and the Apollo Association. He then settled in Melrose, Massachusetts, where he spent the remainder of his life. Burnham died in Boston in 1866.