In December 1758 Skelton wrote from Rome, 'I have lately almost finish'd two Pictures, one is a Composition of a part of Tivoli; and the other (the principal part of the Picture) is the Bridge called the Ponte Mole. I have pleased my self pretty well in them' (ed. B. Ford, 'The Letters of Jonathan Skelton ', Walpole Society, XXXVI, 1960, p. 66). These pictures, which evidently took time to complete, must have been oils. Another Ponte Molle drawing, a larger and slightly different version of the present composition, is in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (dated 10 April 1758).
Skelton was one of the earliest English landscape artists to work in Italy. He had left home in September 1757 and was in Rome from the end of 1757 until his sudden death there on 19 January 1759 (J. Ingamells, Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800, 1997, pp. 860-61). After his death his pictures were shipped back to England and most were lost to view until the reappearance of many of them at the sale of T.C. Blofeld of Hoveton Hall, Norfolk in 1909.