The subject of this large scale and sympathetic portrait is identified by his uniform and the large badge prominently displayed on his left coat sleeve as a professional Waterman. The coat-of-arms on the badge, are those of the Earls of Altamont. The sitter's uniform, which is close in design to that worn by the Bargemaster of the Waterman's Company suggests that the sitter was himself a Bargemaster in service of the Earl of Altamont, probably John Browne, 3rd of that title, subsequently 1st Marquess of Sligo (1756-1809). Watermen were a familiar feature of life in eighteenth-century London when the Thames was one of the most efficient ways of travelling and the scarcity of bridges made boats essential for crossing the river. Similar heraldi badges can be seen worn by the St. Aubyn boatmen in a photograph illustrated in T. Woodcock and J.M. Robinson, Heraldry in National Trust Houses, London, 2000, p. 153.