- Sylvia Leistyna Lahvis
Skillin, John (1745– Jan. 1800), and Simeon Skillin, Jr. (1756–1806), woodcarvers, were born in Boston, Massachusetts, the sons of Simeon Skillin, Sr., a woodcarver, and Ruth Philips. John, Simeon, and their brother Samuel apprenticed in the workshop that their father had established in 1738. One of their father’s earliest patrons was John Erving, a wealthy merchant with important political and mercantile connections, who was also responsible for outfitting the vessels of the Massachusetts navy. With his support, the elder Simeon’s reputation as a carver of ships’ figures spread throughout coastal Massachusetts. In 1766 he was given the commission to carve the first known public monument in New England, a bust of William Pitt, made for the Sons of Liberty in Dedham, Massachusetts, in honor of the repeal of the Stamp Act. Although his work was held in high esteem, no known piece can be traced to his hand....