Caesar Augustus Rodney was born in Dover, Delaware, on January 4, 1772. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1789, he studied law under Thomas B. McKean in Philadelphia and was admitted to the bar in 1793. He practiced law in Wilmington and New Castle for the next few years.
In 1796 he entered the Delaware House of Representatives. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1803 to 1805. A staunch supporter of Thomas Jefferson, he became his Attorney General on January 20, 1807, and continued in that post in Madison's administration. He resigned on December 5, 1811. During the War of 1812, he commanded a company of volunteers in defense of Baltimore. From 1821 to 1822 he was again a Representative in Congress from Delaware, and from 1822 to 1823 served as United States Senator. Rodney was appointed United States Minister to the Argentine Republic in 1823, where he died on June 10, 1824. He was buried in an English churchyard in Buenos Aires.
The artist was a native of Mercer, Pennsylvania. He travelled in France and England and spent eight years in Italy studying the "Old Masters." He is best known for his landscapes, specifically panoramas of Italy. Most of his life, however, was spent in Philadelphia. The portrait of Attorney General Rodney was painted, after an original by Bass Otis in 1870.