The portrait shows the Hanseatic merchant from Gdańsk, Georg Gisze (1497-1562), at age 34, sitting behind a writing table in a corner of his London office, surrounded by numerous objects that identify his rank. On the table in front of him are his writing implements and a gold time-piece, and also a glass vase with carnations, sprigs of rosemary, basil and wallflowers. The vase and flowers are symbolic of the subject's qualities: his unwavering love, faithfulness, purity and modesty. The clock is a reminder of the passage of time and the fading flowers indicate the brevity of life, while the fragility of the glass indicates that even the most beautiful things in life do not last for ever. In 1532, the year the portrait was painted, Georg Gisze was one of the leading men in the London Stalhof, one of the Hanseatic League's most powerful trade bases.