Topographical draughtsman Jacob Schnebbelie was born in Duke’s Court, St Martin’s Lane, on 30 August 1760. His father was a native of Zurich who had served as a lieutenant in the Dutch army at the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom in 1747, before settling in England to become a confectioner in Rochester. Jacob, after carrying on the same business for a short time - first at Canterbury and then at Hammersmith - abandoned it, and became a drawing-master at Westminster. He was most likely self-taught.
Through the influence of Lord Leicester, the President of the Society of Antiquaries, Schnebbelie was appointed draughtsman to the society. He drew several views of ancient buildings published in the second and third volumes of Vetusta monumenta. In 1791 he commenced the publication of the Antiquaries’ Museum, illustrating the ancient architecture, painting, and sculpture of Britain in a series of etched and aquatinted plates. He lived to complete only three parts. The work was continued by Richard Nichols and John Gough, and issued as a volume, with a memoir of him, in 1800. Schnebbelie died at his home at no. 7 Poland Street in February 1792.