Born in Eperjes, Northern Hungary (the present day Presov, Slovakia), Jacob Bogdani worked in Amsterdam from 1684 and in 1686 shared a residence there with Ernst Stuven, the still life painter. Bogdani had settled in England by the middle of 1688 and became known as ‘The Hungarian’.
Jacob Bogdani was taken up by the English court and aristocracy and soon became a much sought after still life and bird painter. One of his early commissions was a set of flowerpieces for Queen Mary's ‘Looking glasse closett in the Thames gallery’ at Hampton Court Palace. Bogdani also supplied paintings for King William's palace at Dieren, Holland. One of his most important patrons was Admiral George Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough’s brother, whose famous Windsor aviary might have provided subjects for some of his works. Several of George Churchill's pictures are now in the Royal Collection, having been acquired by Queen Anne after his death in 1710.
Bogdani ’s son William, later a distinguished civil servant, and his son-in-law Tobias Stranover were his pupils; the latter often adopted Jacob Bogdani’s motifs for his own paintings.
The work of Jacob Bogdani is represented in the British Royal Collection; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; the National Gallery of Hungary, Budapest and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.