Jan Jacob Spohler was trained as a painter in the studio of the then noted history painter Jan Willem Pieneman. He gradually applied himself to painting detailed Dutch summer and winter landscapes. These had all the ingredients that made such scenes so popular in the 19th century: tranquil summer river views with sailing craft and rowing boats, people busily engaged, or cold winter scenes of reflective ice, leafless trees, skaters and shared conviviality around a refreshment stall. He was tutor to his son Jacob Jan Coenraad Spohler. His other son, Johannes Franciscus, specialized in cityscapes.