Peter Bounetheau was the son of John Bounetheau, who fled to Charleston in 1685 from New Rochelle, France, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Peter served as justice of the peace in Charleston in 1776 and was commissioned a lieutenant in the Ancient Battalion of Artillery. He was appointed postmaster of Charleston by Benjamin Franklin in May 1777. In 1780 he was taken prisoner on the "Torbay" and sent to St. Augustine, Florida. The year of his death he was elected mayor of Charleston.
His first wife was Ann Anderson, a miniature of whom is on the verso of Bounetheau's. Peter married his second wife, Elizabeth Weyman, on 14 January 1777. Their son Henry Brentneil Bounetheau (1797-1877) became a successful miniature portrait painter in Charleston.