Jan Philip van Thielen was born in Mechelen in 1618. As the son of a minor nobleman, he eventually became Lord of Cauwenberg. In 1631, aged 13, he went to Antwerp to study with the history painter Theodoor Rombouts (Antwerp 1597 – 1637). In 1641 he became Daniel Seghers’ only pupil. Seghers (Antwerp 1590 – 1661), who was a member of the jesuit order, was one of the most important flower painters in seventeenth century Antwerp; he was very influenced by Jan Brueghel the Elder and collaborated with many prominent peers.
Van Thielen painted mostly flower garlands and still life paintings, often collaborating with other painters, such as Erasmus II Quellinus (who was his brother-in-law) and Cornelis Schut. He enjoyed an excellent reputation, evidenced by the fact that he counted the Spanish court amongst his patrons. Stylistically, he was much influenced by his master Daniel Seghers, although later on he would develop a more idiosyncratic stylistic idiom.