Born in Ambon, Johannes (Jacobus) Janson came to The Netherlands at the age of eight years old. He was educated as military engineer and fortification constructor. At the age of 32 he was registered as Indo Batavus Pictor 32 in the Album Studiosorum of the University of Leyden and his primary activities seem to be painting and etching. His main subjects being landscapes with cattle. He marries Diederika Verkeer and the couple had two sons, Johan Christiaan and Pieter who both became artists as well. Johannes was active as an art dealer as well, his mecenas being Isaac van Buren.
The present drawing is the preparatory design for the etching "Mountainous landscape with shepherd and cattle" (Hippert & Linnig 9)(image 2)
 Frans Laurentius, Het prentwerk van de familie Janson (1729-1851). Doctoraalscriptie, 1998.