In the books
Dressed in his mayoral robes, the portrait celebrates Burrows as a local politician. He was certainly popular: the post was normally held for a single term, but he was appointed Mayor of Brighton on three separate occasions.
As is often the case with portraits, the accompanying objects are intended to say something about the sitter. In this case, Burrows hand rests upon two books to indicate that he is a man of learning.
A medical practitioner and member of the Royal College of Surgeons, Burrows was dedicated to encouraging scientific understanding. He was one of the founders of the Brighton Mechanics Institute, which provided reading rooms and books for working class men to expand their knowledge.