He was born as a son of a inn holder, who came from a poor noble family. According to the eighteen century salon legend he was discovered by the Czartoryski family during their stay in his father's inn near Siedlce. Never mind the details, he was given under the care of Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gourdaine
polonised French court painter of Czartoryskis prince family.
It seems that Norblin
had deciding influence on Orlowski's artwork.
Orlowski fought as a volunteer in Kosciuszko's Insurrection and was hurt during one of the battles, after Kosciuszko's lost he found a protector in the person of prince Jozef Poniatowski, kings Stanislaus Augustus nephew, future marshal of Napoleon's army. In Poniatowski's palace in Warsaw he used to entertain prince's guests by paining their quick portraits or by drawing sketch illustrations to the topics of their chats. This not really artistically improving role seemed to not satisfy Orlowski.