Schnebbelie, Jacob

, was son of a native of Zurich, in Switzerland, lieutenant in the Dutch army at the memorable siege of Bergen-op-Zoom in 1747; when, after a gallant resistance of two months, it was, as generally believed, surprised by the French under marshal Lowendal. Upon quitting the service Mr. Schnebbelie came over to England, and settled in the business of a confectioner, in which capacity he had frequently the honour of attending on king George II. He afterwards opened a shop at Rochester, where one of his sons still resides; and the same profession his son Jacob (who was born Aug. 30, 1760, in Duke’s Court, in the parish of St. Martin in the Fields) followed for some time, first at Canterbury, and afterwards at Hammersmith till, nature pointing out to him the proper road to fame and credit, he quitted his shop and commenced self-taught teacher, at Westminster and other public schools, of the art of drawing, in which he made a proficiency which introduced him to the notice of many among the learned and the great. To the earl of | Leicester’s notice he was first introduced by accidentally sketching a view in his park near Hertford, and was employed by him in taking some of the most picturesque landscapes about Tunbridge Wells, with a view to their publication for his benefit. At their noble president’s express recommendation he was appointed draughtsman of the society of antiquaries; and filled that office with equal credit to himself and his patron. The merits of his pencil are too generally known and acknowledged to require any exaggerated eulogium, Happy in a quick eye and a discriminating taste, he caught the most beautiful objects in the happiest points of view; and for fidelity and elegance of delineation, may be ranked high among the list of firstrate artists. The works put forth on his own account are not numerous. In 1781 he intended to publish six views of St. Augustine’s Monastery, to be engraved by Mr. Rogers, &c. five of which. were completed, and one small view of that religious house was etched by himself. In 1787 he etched a plate representing the Serpentine River, part of Hyde Park, with the house of earl Bathurst, a distant view of Westminster Abbey, &c. now the property and in the possession of Mr. Jukes, intended to be aquatinted for publication, Mr. Jukes purchased also from him several views of Canterbury cathedral, St. Augustine’s monastery, &c. In March 1788 he published four views of St. Alban’s town and abbey, drawn and etched by himself; which in the November following were published, aquatinted by F. Jukes. About the same time that he set on foot the “Antiquaries Museum,*’ he became an associate with the late James Moore, esq. F. S. A. and Mr, Parkyns, in the f< Monastic Remains*;” which, after five numbers had appeared, he relinquished to his coadjutors. The assistance he occasionally gave to “The Gentleman’s Magazine,” the smallest part of his merit, it will be needless to particularize; his masterly hand being visible on whatever it was exerted. It is of more consequence to his fame to point out the beauties of many of the plates in the second and third volumes of the “Vetusta Monumenta” of the Society of Antiquaries and in the second volume of the “Sepulchral Monuments of Great Britain ,

In the preface to which he is gratefully commemorated.

the far greater part of the numerous plates in which are after him; or in the very many drawings he had finished, and the sketches he
*

See —Gent. Mag. vol. LXI. pp. 743, Ilf8, 1207.

| had designed, for Mr. Nichols’s “History of Leicestershire.” He had completed also some views of King’s college chapel at Cambridge, in a style worthy that most beautiful and most perfect of all our gothic buildings, and in a manner which had so far recommended him to royal notice, that, had his life been spared, there is no doubt but he would have been properly distinguished.

Mr. Schnebbelie was not contented with drawing the remains of antiquity; his close pursuits had made him a proficient in the study of our national antiquities, and a judge of the different styles of Gothic architecture and monuments. His description of the various places and buildings which he had examined were judicious and accurate, and discovered what attention he paid to them. An outline, if we may so call it, of Gothic architecture, had been suggested to him, to have been illustrated by drawings of the various parts; and he had actually begun to compile a work under the title of “Antique Dresses since the reign of William the Conqueror, collected from various works j with their authorities.” It may be safely affirmed, that few artists have produced more specimens of their talents, in their particular departments, than Mr. Schnebbelie in the four last years of his life, which is the short space qt" time since he seriously took up the pursuit.

Thus much for his professional abilities. But he had qualities of still greater worth, the virtues of an excellent heart. Those only who knew him intimately, and more especially those who at any time have travelled with him when he has been employed as a draughtsman, can judge of the alacrity of zeal with which he has dispatched his labour, of the cheerful pleasantry with which he has relieved its toil, and of the ingenuous frankness of his natural disposition. On all these accounts his loss will not be easily made up to his friends; and to his family it is irreparable.

He died in Poland-rstreet, Feb. 21, 1792, in. the thirtysecond year of his age, after an illness of six weeks, which commenced with a rheumatic fever, occasioned by too intense an application to his professional engagements, and terminated in a total debility of body; leaving an amiable widow and three children. Two sons and a daughter died during the last year of their father’s life; and a son was born five days after his death. He was interred in the burying-ground belonging to a new chanel | then building for St. James’s parish, in the road from Tottenham court to Hampstead.

The very small portion of time which elapsed after the talents of Mr. Schnebbelie became universally acknowledged, did not enable him to lay by much store for his surviving family, who received a handsome relief from the Society to which he was draughtsman. 1

1

Account drawn up by Mr, Gough for Mr. Schnebbelie’s “Antiquaries M scum.