William Page’s work caught the eye of artist John Trumbull, president of the American Academy in New York, when Page was just fourteen. At that time Page was working in a law office, and Trumbull warned that life as an artist would cause him to “starve … genteelly.” But Page pursued his interest in art, and trained with the painter and inventor Samuel F. B. Morse. His discussions with Morse about religion likely inspired him to study theology at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he painted portrait miniatures to support himself. He decided that he was destined to be an artist rather than a minister, and abandoned his studies. He settled in New York City, working as a portraitist and on large-scale literary and historical scenes. He lived in Rome for a time, and his peers nicknamed him “the American Titian” because of his enthusiasm for the Venetian master. Although he had been financially successful early in his career, when he returned to the United States he had trouble finding a market for his new paintings, and was forced to supplement his income with speaking engagements and writing (Taylor, William Page: The American Titian, 1957).