Little is know about the German-born artist J. F. Hefele, his personal life, or his artistic training. It is known that he traveled to England as a soldier in the service of the Dutch Prince William of Orange, who overthrew James II of England in the non-violent revolution of 1688. Hefele remained in England until his death around 1710.
Most works signed by the artist are colorful paintings of exotic birds and flowers done in bodycolor (also called gouache), an opaque watercolor. Hefele’s scenes resemble designs published in the late seventeenth century by French Huguenot Daniel Marot (1661-1752) who left France and worked in the Netherlands as court designer for William of Orange. When William became monarch of England in 1688, Marot followed him there. Marot’s designs served as models for wood carvers and decorative painters and may have inspired Hefele.