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Turner turned forty-one in April 1816 and the next month secured a lucrative commission to produce 120 watercolors to be engraved in a history of Yorkshire. He sketched throughout the county that summer accompanied in part by the family of Sir Walter Fawkes, Turner's major patron who lived in that neighborhood.
On July 27, Turner sketched the picturesque, stepped falls ("forces") of the Ure above the town of Aysgarth. He then produced this watercolor in his London studio and turned it over to the engraver John Scott to reproduce.