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Skelton 1758
Skelton 1758
Jonathan Skelton
The Letters of Jonathan Skelton written from Rome and Tivoli in 1758 together with Correspondence relating to his Death on 19 January 1759
Walpole Society
London, UK
1960
Primary published
The Walpole Society (1956-58)
Vol. 36, pp. 23-84, including index and ten monochrome pls. The letters, edited and with an introduction by Brinsley Ford, cover the last year of Skelton's life (1758). They describe his experiences, working methods and endeavours as the first English artist to make an impressive group of watercolours of Rome and its environs. Wilson is mentioned on pp. 26-28, 35, 38, 46, 47, 50, 67 & 68.
A letter of 28 June 1758 to William Herring imputes Skelton's lack of success in selling pictures to associates of Wilson: Here are in Rome two pupils of Wilson both ingenious Men. I am told it is on their account that I am abused in this manner; the name of one is Crone and the other Plimmer.Their Friends name is Jenkins, who acts as a spy here for our Government.These People that I have named and Mr. Wilson were like one Person, when he was in Rome. I would not have been so cruel as to have said that Jenkins is a spy if an intimate Friend of mine (who is studying Painting here) had not received a letter but a little while ago from his Brother in England, a Member of Parliment, with this Caution 'Take care how you keep company with one Jenkins (I think he is a painter) he is a spy in Rome for our Goverrnment.' It is very evident that the ruin of my Interest is intended by these People [...] (p. 47)