Neil was commissioned by The Folio Society to illustrate The Divine Comedy to mark 700 years since Dante's death. It was a very lavish limited edition of 700 copies, and Neil produced 100 illustrations, one for each canto, and three prints. It was a sensational success and sold out within three weeks of the release. You can see why, on this short film.
And here's an interview with Neil about the project too (scroll down).