Jacob Jansz. van Velsen was born into a lower-class family in Delft. He may have trained with Anthonie Palamedesz. although this cannot be documented. In 1625 he registered in the Guild of St. Luke in the city. A year later, he married a rich widow and as a result never had to paint for a living. The couple owned many houses in Delft and in the countryside, and also had a collection of Chinese porcelain, curiosities, and paintings. Van Velsen died in Amsterdam.