|Description: A framed engraving entitled "Condotta da Vafrino Trova L'affilitta Erminia il suo Tanicredi Semivo per le Ferite Argante" (Erminia Finding Tancredi Wounded). The image depicts a woman (Erminia) running towards a prone soldier (Tanicredi) with a third man (Argante) removing the soldier's helmet and gazing at his face. The lower band of the image is plain and contains Italian script with the title, artist name, designer, original artist, and play that image scene depicts. There is also a quote (?) possibly from the original poem, _Gerusalemme Liberata_. The top proper left hand corner has the artist name "Pietro Bonato Veneto Bassanesa incise in Roma 1805". The bottom left hand corner reads "Torq:Tasso C XIX o 104" The frame is a dull gold colour with a decorative boarder of acanthus leaves which have a white washed patina that highlights the design. The engraving is covered with glass.
A Roman copper plate engraving entitled "Erminia Finding Tancredi Wounded", 1805, by Pietro Bonata Veneto Bassanese after an oil painting by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (called Guercino) 1591-1666.
Erminia and Tancredi were characters in the Italian Renaissance poet, Torquato Tasso’s, poem "Gerusalemme Liberata", Jerusalem Liberated, written in 1575. This epic poem focuses on the Christian army’s actions during the First Crusade culminating in the conquest of Jerusalem. Tancredi is an Italian hero who is in love with a beautiful warrior Saracen, Clorinda, whom he accidentally kills in battle. Erminia is the daughter of the defeated King of Anticoh, Cassano. Tancredi granted Erminia her freedom after the fall of her father’s reign and she burns with a secret passion for him. She comes to Jerusalem and treats Tancredi’s wounds after he is hurt in a battle with Argantes.
John Skynner (1762-1846) was born in England in 1762. His family had a strong connection with the Royal Navy with both his father and grandfather serving as high ranking officers. John would follow in this tradition with a distinguished naval career. Little is known of Skynner outside of his naval accomplishments. From "O’Byrne’s Naval Biographical Dictionary, 1849" we have a clear record of his rise through the Royal Navy. The dictionary states that Skynner joined the Navy in 1795 as an Able Bodied Seaman. He quickly moved through the ranks serving as a Midshipman and Master’s Mate in the Mediterranean.During the time he served in the Mediterranean, he was present for the evacuation of Corsica (1796) and saw action near Cape St. Vincent(1797). He continued to serve on the Ville De Paris and Isis and then became the Acting Lieutenant on the Nemesis. He became a full Lieutenant on March 8th, 1802 for the Amazon. While in command of the Amazon, he brought the Duke of Kent to England from Gibraltar and then returned to the Mediterranean. His daughter recalls him telling stories of the Duke walking with him on deck during this voyage. The Duke of Kent was the father of Queen Victoria. Skynner also held command of the gun-bring Hirondelle from June 19th, 1804 until December 14th, 1807.Lieutenant John Skynner was presented with a piece of plate (silver cup) given by the Merchants and others residing in the Island of Malta as a token of respect for his very meritorious conduct and unremitted attention to the numerous convoys under his charge while in the Mediterranean. He was listed as a retired Commander on April 10th, 1838.
Details of his personal life are few. He married a woman named Joanna who was 22 years younger then himself. They had six children, four boys and two girls. The oldest child, John, was born in 1816 when John was 54 years old. It can be assumed that John must have started his family some time after 1807 when details of his active Navy career end. Perhaps he returned to England and felt he was secure enough to support a wife and family. After his retirement in 1838 at the age of 76, he emigrated to Upper Canada. His reasons for emigrating so late in life|