|Description: Oval head and shoulder portrait, mounted on a grey paperboard backing. Subject is John Skynner (1762-1846). View is a full left side. Skynner has thin wavy hair combed forward from the crown over the upper half of forehead; the sideburns curve and narrow to a point at jaw. He is wearing a white collar, dark collared waistcoat, and a dark coloured coat with a wide shawl collar. The backing paperboard is impressed with dots at the edge and then framing liner to form a border for the photograph. On the proper left hand side reads: "Photograph by Lyons Toronto Canada". This is most likely a copy of the original.
Commander John Skynner was born in England in 1762 to a family steeped in the traditions of the Royal Navy; both his father and grandfather had been high ranking officers. From 1802 until at least 1807, Skynner was stationed in the Mediterranean, with command of his own vessel after 1804. The Hirondelle was a fast-sailing French privateer which had racked up many prizes in the Indian Ocean before being captured. During the Napoleonic wars, protection of the East India fleets was paramount to the British economy. In the Mediterranean, the attacks on convoys from hostile privateers was so insistent that the British fleet was hard pressed to provide the necessary escorts and to keep the whole complicated convoy system in smooth running order. Skynner immigrated to Upper Canada in 1839 and made their home in The Anchorage, a comfortable and stylish cottage on the shores of Lake Ontario. The property itself had belonged to the Jarvis family who had used the protected waters as a shipping point for goods to and from York (Toronto) and Niagara. The Anchorage is now a part of the Museums of Mississauga located at Bradley Museum, 1620 Orr Road in Mississauga. For information on Skynner, see: O'BYRNE'S NAVAL BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY, 1849 (2007.1.34).