One of the most successful illuminators in Flanders, Lieven van Lathem worked for powerful patrons including the dukes of Burgundy, Philip the Good, and Charles the Bold. A member of the painter's guilds in Ghent and Antwerp, van Lathem collaborated with some of the most talented Flemish illuminators of the time, including the Master of Mary of Burgundy and Nicolas Spierinc. Influenced by the Netherlandish panel painters Jan van Eyck and Dieric Bouts, van Lathem made use of intense, fresh colors and painted with a lyrical naturalism especially evident in his landscapes. Like many artists working at fifteenth-century courts, van Lathem worked in more than one medium. He helped prepare decorations for an assembly of the Order of the Golden Fleece and for the wedding festivities celebrating the marriage of Charles the Bold to Margaret of York held in Bruges in 1468.
Van Lathem headed a family of artists; two of his sons worked in the service of Philip the Good, one as a painter, the other as a jeweler. In his later years van Lathem lived in a house identified by a sign of plumes, indicating that he was by that time working as a bookseller or making books.