After his so-called 'visionary years' at Shoreham in Kent Palmer sought new places to inspire him. During the 1830s he paid visits to the West Country and more particularly to Wales, where he saw 'grand novelties & enlarged the materials of imagination'. He paid his first visit in 1835 with the animal painter Henry Walter. Palmer appears to have made a drawing on the spot of the Pistil Mawddach falls, which lie north of Dolgellau, and then to have worked up both a watercolour (now at the Yale Center for British Art) and this oil of the subject. He returned to Wales in 1836, this time with Edward Calvert.