Nothing is known about the education and early career of French artist Vanmour (1671-1737). In 1699, he joined the entourage of Marquis Charles de Ferriol, the new French ambassador to Constantinople (Istanbul). There Vanmour portrayed government functionaries and various local peoples. When De Ferriol returned to France in 1711, Vanmour remained and continued working for Western patrons, including Cornelis Calkoen. Calkoen had been appointed ambassador to the Ottoman court by the Dutch Republic in 1727. He was also an art collector and commissioned Vanmour to paint on several occasions.
To meet the considerable demand for paintings, Vanmour maintained a studio in which assistants reproduced his compositions. Despite his success, he found himself in dire financial straits towards the end of his life. The artist lived and worked in the Ottoman capital until his death in 1737.