Barlow was the first native-born artist of animal and sporting subjects, and the first professional English book illustrator and etcher. Although his work was not confined to interpretations of the natural world, drawings of birds, animals and sporting scenes were undoubtedly his speciality. The turkeys shown here were sketched from life and, unusual for the time, are depicted in their natural habitat. Most of Barlow's drawings are related to printmaking, and the heavy outlining visible here would have been an aide in the process of transferring the image to a copper plate. 'Turkeys' is one of a group of drawings which would have been published together as a series illustrating birds of different species.