The brother of artist Ralph Earl, James Earl came to England before 1787, having followed a band of loyalists, former American Colonists who fled to London after the American Revolution.
It is thought he was a student of Benjamin West. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and was a well-known Loyalist in London. He returned to America and died of yellow fever in Charleston, South Carolina in 1796. In that city, he had painted a number of portraits and his intention of settling there for a long period was cut short by his death at age 35.
Christie’s East, American Paintings and Sculpture catalogue, 10/03/2001
Peter Falk, “Who Was Who in American Art”