Yorkshire was one of Turner's favourite sketching grounds. Between 1811 and
1818 Turner visited the county every year. In the summer of 1816 he returned to look for material for this commission. In his text for the History of Richmondshire, Whitaker described High Force as 'one
of the finest cataracts in the island,
whose roar is audible long before it
is perceptible to the eye'. This great waterfall, on the River Tees up river from the town of Middleton, was a sight seen by most who visited the area and was undoubtedly one of the finest waterfalls on Turner's itinerary.