Funeral bearers, or 'mutes' as they were also known, customarily preceded a funeral procession and were a common sight in 19th century London. One of a pair, this painting depicts a funeral bearer at full-length standing next to a column, within a feigned oval.
Dressed predominately in black - a black suit, a top hat covered in black and a black sash - he is holding a staff, also draped in black, in his right hand. Facing half-right and looking slightly downwards, his expression is appropriately sombre. The other painting in the Museum's collection shows a 'mute' wearing a white sash, holding a staff covered in white and facing the other way.