The subject seems to have been copied from a drawing, probably by Michael Angelo Rooker (1746–1801), based on Rooker’s study of Lewes Bridge now in the Sussex Archaeological Society, Lewes (LEWSA.VR3199). The connection was made by Farrant, who suggests that Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) possessed Rooker’s finished watercolour, and that Turner copied it for use as a pupil’s copy-drawing in the course of his attendance at Monro’s ‘Academy’ (see the introduction to the ‘Monro School’ section of the present catalogue).
A copy, presumably from Turner’s drawing by one of his own pupils, is Tate D40250 (Turner Bequest XXXI D [verso]). Farrant draws attention to a further version of the subject by Alexander Monro (1802–1844), presumably taken from the Rooker drawing in his father Dr Monro’s collection rather than from Turner’s version (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, B1975.3.879).
Grey, brown and buff colour trials; inscribed in brush and grey colour ‘68’ (twice) and ‘Lewes Sussex’; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram