The sitter was the only daughter of John and Ella Southwick, prominent Brooklyn residents who lived in a handsome brownstone house at 34 Livingston Street. John Southwick, a collector of paintings, owned Lake George, by John F. Kensett. and A Catskill Stream, by Asher B, Durand, both of which Susie Southwick would give to the BMA in 1933 in memory of her parents. Southwick also commissioned a series of family portraits during the 1870s. Including this one of Susie seated in a landscape setting by the genre painter Thomas Waterman Wood.