Peleg Franklin Brownell was born in 1857. After studying at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, he went to Paris to study under Robert-Fleury, Bouguereau and Bonnat.
He painted in the West Indies, the United States, the Gaspé and in Gatineau. Brownell's subject matter ws often landscapes, however he also produced portraits, flower studies, marine and genre scenes. His mediums included oil, watercolour and pastel.
In 1886 he became principal of The Ottawa Art School which led to his role as head the Woman's Art Association of Ottawa (later The Ottawa Art Association), he retired in1937.
Brownell was a founder-member of the Canadian Art Club in 1907. He was represented in the exhibitions of several art associations and showed internationally at the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, The 1900 Paris World's Fair, at which he won a bronze medal for his RCA diploma work, The Photographer, The British Empire Exhibition, and in many more major Canadian collections.
He died in Ottawa in 1946.