Ibbetson worked in Westmoreland from 1799 to 1804 and painted many views of Lake Ullswater, attracted by its sweepingly picturesque potential. By the end of the eighteenth century, the dramatic landscape of the Lake District was the subject of artistic and literary admiration. Thomas West's Guide to the Lakes, first published in 1778, encouraged vistors to seek out viewpoints in the area and the poet Thomas Grey immortalised in his writings the emotional impact of the landscape, inspired by his visit of 1769.
A pair of views by the artist of Ullswater from Gowbarrow, 1806, were sold in these rooms on 16 June 2005 for £84,000. The present work is a particularly fine example of Ibbetson's early lakeland views. It was in 1798 that the artist made his first visits to the Lake District, and the following year he exhibited a View of the lower waterfall of Sir Michael Le Fleming's at Rydal (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool), recalling a view painted by Joseph Wright of Derby in 1798 (Museum of Art, Derby).
A slightly smaller version of the same composition was sold in these rooms on 8 April, 1998, lot 57 (£29,000).