Jan Jacob Schenkel lived and worked in Amsterdam. His teachers were the history and figure painters Valentijn Bing and Jan Braet von Uberfeldt. Schenkel chose a different specialisation, however, and his oeuvre consists primarily of church interiors. He also painted townscapes. In the years from 1851 to 1899 Schenkel regularly exhibited his work, for example, the Exhibition of Dutch Living Masters, organised annually in Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam and other cities.