As Eric Shanes has noted, with this quick study comprising little more than a grey silhouette ‘it is impossible even to make out whether we are looking at a bridge or simply a reflection of one’,1 on balance it seems likely that the image is to be read with the six arches uppermost, towards the top right, across a wide expanse of water reflecting the sky. Alternatively, when inverted, other forms may suggest a distant wooded skyline and high, blue-tinged clouds in the sky itself.
Without further comment, presumably on stylistic grounds, Shanes has associated this unidentified if not spontaneous subject with the watercolours Turner made between about 1812 and 1824 to be engraved for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England.2
The underlying wash does not reach to the edge of the sheet at the right and below, and there are rough dabs and strokes of grey at the top left, presumably to test the colour.
Blank; laid down.