Jonathan Scott Hartley was a teenager carving tombstones for a living when the sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer discovered him. He apprenticed with Palmer for two years, developing his carving skills and knowledge of anatomy. With the older artist’s encouragement, Hartley traveled to England to study at the Royal Academy, supporting himself as a marble cutter during the day. He then traveled to Berlin, Paris, and Rome before establishing a studio in New York, where he created a sketch group for fellow artists known as the Salmagundi Club. Hartley helped to establish the Art Students League and worked there as a professor of anatomy for several years. His marble and bronze sculptures included monuments, relief carvings, and portrait busts of prominent members of New York society.