Between 1798 and 1799, Varley undertook his first tour of Wales, with George Arnauld and the drawing master Thomas Baynes. The tour provided the basis for Varley's work throughout his career. The route of their journey through North Wales was not recorded, but was probably similar to the route advocated in the current guide books. From the border town of Chirk to Llangollen, then onto Capel Curig, Snowdon and Bangor, back to Capel Curig and then along to LLanberis onto Caenarvon, then Beddgelert, Harlech, Barmouth, Dolgelly, Cader Idris, Tal-y-Llyn and back to Dolgelly, Bala and the border.
Conway Castle held a continued appeal for Varley who painted it on many occasions between 1798 and 1808. The present watercolour probably dates from 1804, and relates to a smaller watercolour of the same composition executed in that year and sold Christie's, London, 15 November 1988, lot 121. For another Welsh view by Varley see lot 63.