Ashpitel was primarily an architect who trained under his father William Hurst Ashpitel (1776-1852). He began his career by designing the church of St. Barnabas at Homerton, 1845 and exhibited at the Royal Academy regularly between 1845 and 1864. He also exhibited in collaboration with John Whichcord Jun. (who became his business partner in 1850) from 1852 to 1854. He was admitted as a fellow of the Institute of British Architects in 1841 and became its Vice-President in 1862.
The present watercolour was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1850 entitled Selection from Palladio and displays a number of Palladio's architectural commissions: (from left to right) Il Redentore Venice, Palazzo Chiericati, Vicenza, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, the Villa Rotunda, Vicenza, Palladio's proposal for the Rialto Bridge, Venice, the Basilica, Vicenza, Villa Pisani, Bagnola, Villa Pisani, Montagnana, San Zitelle, San Francesco della Vigna, Venice and Palazzo Valmarana, Vicenza.
This architectural capriccio follows a tradition that includes similar works such as J.M Gandy's (1771-1843) composition of designs by Sir John Soane (exhibited in 1818), Charles Cockerell's (1788-1863) Tribute to Sir Christopher Wren (exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1838) and subsequently A Composition of the Works of Inigo Jones by Sir William Tite (1798-1853), which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1854.