Robert Cromek, who had commissioned the original painting of the Canterbury Pilgrims from Stothard, was eager to have the image engraved. In fact this engraving was not published until 1817, by which time Cromek had died.
The print was a great commercial success. In 1855 it was said that ‘few, if any, engravings of that period were so popular with the public’. A key to the figures in the picture is printed under the image.