Dodge began his career painting tiny designs on watchcases for his father, a New York goldsmith. He exhibited his first miniatures at the National Academy of Design in 1829 and went on to paint more than 1,100 portraits in small during his successful career. This meticulously stippled likeness shows his daughter looking up from her reading, perhaps one of the many volumes of short stories and poetry published annually in New York City. The Parian vase, with its distinctive embellishment of white reeds on a blue lobed body and geometric design on the neck, was a popular type produced in Bennington, Vermont.
Inscription: Inscribed on backing card: Likeness of / (aged 8 years) / Kate Roselie Dodge, / Painted from Life, by / her father / John W. Dodge. / St. Louis Mo / Finished July 18th / 1854.