The present watercolour, executed circa 1800, is based on a drawing in the Hereford Court Sketchbook in the Turner Bequest (T.B. XXXVIII - 50a), made on Turner's 1798 and 1799 tours of Wales.
The drawing in the sketchbook is inscribed on the reverse 'Pope/Wm. Blake/Mr. Leader'; the names referring to commissions received by Turner or patrons who he wished to approach. The view of Conway commissioned by William Blake of Newhouse is recorded by Wilton as no. 268; and the watercolour for William Leader is the oil painting now in the collection of the Duke of Westminster (M. Butlin and E. Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, New Haven and London, 1984, no. 141).
A second watercolour of the same composition as the present watercolour is now in the collection of Viscount Gage, at Firle (Wilton, op. cit., no. 270), and it is not known whether the present watercolour or that belonging to the Viscount is the watercolour commissioned by Pope. A further view of Conway Castle, from a different view point is in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; see C. Nugent & M. Croal, Turner Watercolours from Manchester, 1997, no. 22, illustrated in colour.
The Conway Castle group is described in A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, 1909, vol. I, pl. 86 and is also discussed in A. Wilton, Turner in Wales, London, 1984, p. 71.