The guard sits at the far left in The Council Chamber, one of the four large paintings collectively known as the Briar Rose series. Their exhibition at Agnew's in 1890 was an enormous success, and effectively marked the climax of Burne-Jones's career. They were bought by Alexander Henderson, later first Baron Faringdon, and installed at his country house, Buscot Park, Oxfordshire, where they remain.
The guard, seemingly a black boy in the painting, does not appear either in the small version dating from the early 1870s (Ponce, Puerto Rico) or the secondary large version which Burne-Jones completed in 1892 (Bancroft Collection, Wilmington, Delaware).
Drawings in this particular combination of black chalk and soft white paper are typical of Burne-Jones in the late 1880s. A group of figure studies in the same medium, connected with the two large decorative paintings that he executed in 1888 for St John's Church, Torquay, are in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.