Vaughan spent the first six months of 1959 in the United States of America, teaching as a visiting resident artist in the art department of Iowa State University. The experience, despite his initial misgivings, proved immensely liberating; he wrote to Prunella Clough 'I'm sold on America and could happily stay for ever' and the result was a series of splendid landscape paintings. At first he responded to the brilliant snow-covered landscape with a series of beautiful snow scenes. 'The greatest quailty here is the light, clear, white, sharp. Contrary to all expectations' and he wrote enthusiastically about the landscape and the 'uninhibited vitality' of the people. With Spring came the thaw, and he travelled along the Mississippi valley, sketching the small towns along the riverbanks. The present work shows a spring river in spate after the thaw, and it is one of the most dynamic landscapes, beautifully conveying the sensation of the swollen river racing past the houses on its banks.