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Works Thomas Girtin after James Moore

The Ruins of Lewes Castle, from the West

(?) 1793

Primary Image: TG0162: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after James Moore (1762–99), The Ruins of Lewes Castle, from the West, (?) 1793, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 14.9 × 10.5 cm, 5 ⅞ × 4 ⅛ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Bridgeman Images, Agnew's, London (All Rights Reserved)

Artist's source: James Moore (1762–99) and (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Lewes Castle, 3 July 1793, graphite on wove paper, 22.5 × 17.6 cm, 8 ⅞ × 6 ⅞ in. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (WA1916.22.3).

Photo courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after James Moore (1762-1799)
  • The Ruins of Lewes Castle, from the West
(?) 1793
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
14.9 × 10.5 cm, 5 ⅞ × 4 ⅛ in

'Built by William de Warren at the Conquest' on a fragment of the old the mount, by James Moore

Object Type
Studio Watercolour; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; Sussex View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2008


James Moore (1762–99); his widow, Mary Moore (née Howett) (d.1835); bequeathed to Anne Miller (1802–90); bequeathed to Edward Mansel Miller (1829–1912); bequeathed to Helen Louisa Miller (1842–1915); bought by an unknown purchaser, 1912, £12 12s; Christie's, 9 May 1919, lot 121; bought by Thos. Agnew & Sons (stock no.9262) for Irwin Laughlin, £40 19s plus 5% commission; ... Sotheby’s, 15 July 1959, lot 12; bought by Thos. Agnew & Sons, £280; Mrs L. H. Beattie; Thos. Agnew & Sons, 1987; Sotheby’s, 15 March 1990, lot 63, £6,050; Thos. Agnew & Sons; Sotheby’s, 5 June 2008, lot 181

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1987, no.26

About this Work

This watercolour by Girtin of the ruins of Lewes Castle in Sussex was made after a drawing by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) (see the source image above), and he almost certainly did not visit the site himself. Girtin’s earliest patron undertook three trips to Sussex, in 1790, 1793 and 1795, making numerous drawings of the county’s rich architectural heritage. The sketch from which Girtin made his view of the ruins from the west is dated 3 July 1793. It therefore postdates the first group of watercolours that Girtin made after Moore’s sketches in the winter of 1792–93 and, indeed, it is smaller than the standard size the artist adopted for that series. At the same time, Moore’s pencil sketch is rather more accomplished than the typically stilted and often inaccurate views he recorded on his tour to northern England and across Scotland in the autumn of 1792. The castle makes an imposing sight on its artificial mound overlooking the Ouse estuary and, given that the amateur is unlikely to have improved so significantly as a draughtsman in the intervening short period, there is a suspicion that Girtin intervened to correct and strengthen Moore’s pencil work to achieve such an effect. Girtin’s role in the drawing is perhaps not as clear-cut as in some of the other views that Moore made of churches in Sussex, such as Ewell (TG0169a), and the drawing has therefore not been catalogued separately.

Girtin made another view of Lewes Castle in pencil (TG0295), and this too was copied from a drawing by another artist, though in this case it was Thomas Hearne (1744–1817).


Ewell Church


1794 - 1795

Part of the Ruins of Lewes Castle, from the West


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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