Turner was immensely successful as an artist from the beginning of his career
and this first commission to execute watercolour drawings for engraving
came when he was just eighteen. The Copper-Plate Magazine, later re-issued
as The Itinerant, was one of many small illustrated publications fashionable in the late-eighteenth century. Turner contributed sixteen designs including this view of Ely Cathedral from the south, working largely from drawings taken on sketching tours across the country. The detailed depiction of the famous cathedral is testament to Turner's lifelong interest in architecture.