(c.1735 - 1759)
The Ponte Lucano and the Tomb of the Plautii, Rome
Sir Henry Theobald
Henry Lascelles 6th Earl of Harewood (1882-1947)
and by descent at Harewood House, Yorkshire.
T. Borenius, Catalogue of the Pictures and Drawings at Harewood House and elsewhere in the Collection of the Earl of Harewood, K.G.; G.C.V.O., D.S.O., Oxford, 1936, p. 180, no. 449.
Jonathan Skelton is an important figure in the emergence of the British landscape tradition, he was one of the very first Britsh watercolourists to depict the Italian landscape en plein air. Little is known about him other than the evidence of his surviving works and a handful of letters sent from Italy to his British patron William Herring. In their corespondence, Skelton gives a detailed account of his day to day life, his experiments with various techniques, his attempts to improve his figure painting, his exploration of the Roman Campagna, and even the political intrigues of the Jacobite exiles surrounding the young Pretender. He had arrived in Rome in December 1757 and embarked upon an intense study of the surrounding landscape. Skelton, who appeared to exist on a near starvation diet, died of a fever in Rome in January 1759 at the young age of twenty four. His will had been drafted the previous November in which he requested that all his works be sold to pay his debts, including the 105 guineas he still owed William Herring. He left nearly 120 drawings and sketches by himself and others, a small book of sketches, 30 prints, and 15 paintings, 3 of them unfinished. The details of the sale are not known, but over 80 later belonged to Thomas Hoveton (1753-1817) of Blofeld House, near Norwich.