Apprenticed to a saddler in Annapolis, he became at 20 his own master and taught himself various other trades—watchmaking, silversmithing, upholstery, and sign painting. Forced into bankruptcy, he fled to Boston, where he worked for a short time in Copley's studio. After working with Copley, Peale returned to Annapolis to paint portraits of its wealthy citizens, a group of whom sent (1766) him to study with Benjamin West in London. Upon his return to America he established himself in Philadelphia in 1776.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.