– June 21
) is regarded as the first significant British architect
of the modern period,
and the first to bring Italianate Renaissance architecture
England. He also made valuable contributions to stage design
fact that he was born in the vicinity of Smithfield in central London, the son of
a Welsh Catholic cloth worker, and christened at the church of
the Less, little is known about Jones' early years.
towards the end of the 16th century, he became one of the first
Englishmen to study architecture in Italy, making two
visits to that country.
The first (c.1598-1603) was possibly
funded by Roger
Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland
. The second, from 1613 to 1614,
found Inigo in the company of the Earl of Arundel
. He may
also have been in Italy in 1606 and was influenced by the
ambassador Henry Wotton
and owned a
copy of Andrea Palladio
's works with
that refer to Wotton. See
His Worlds 2004
by Gerald Curzon. His work became particularly
influenced by Palladio. To a lesser extent, he also held that the
setting out of buildings should be guided by principles first
described by ancient Roman writer Vitruvius
best known buildings are the Queen's House at Greenwich, London (started in 1616, his earliest surviving work) and
House at Whitehall (1619) – part of a major modernisation by him of
the Palace of
Whitehall – which also has a ceiling painted by Peter Paul Rubens.
The Queen's House at Greenwich
The Banqueting House was one of several projects where Jones worked
with his personal assistant and nephew by marriage John Webb
project in which Jones was involved was the design of Covent Garden.
He was commissioned by the Earl of Bedford
build a residential square along the lines of an Italian piazza.
The Earl felt obliged to provide a church and he warned Jones that
he wanted to economise. He told him to simply erect a "barn" and
Jones' oft-quoted response was that his lordship would have "the
finest barn in Europe". Little remains of the original church
situated to the west of the piazza.
As well as his architectural work, Jones did a great deal of work
in the field of stage design
. He is
credited with introducing movable scenery and the proscenium arch
to English theatre. Jones
designed costumes, sets, and stage effects for a number of masques
by Ben Jonson
the two had famous arguments about whether stage design or
literature was more important in theatre. (Jonson ridiculed Jones
in a series of his works, written over a span of two
Surveyor of Works to King Charles
I, Jones worked for Queen Henrietta
Maria on the design of a Roman
Catholic chapel at Somerset House (an act that provoked great suspicion from the
Protestants) and his career effectively ended with the outbreak of
the English Civil War in 1642 and
the seizure of the King's houses in 1643. His property was later
returned to him (c.1646) but Jones ended his days living in
House and was subsequently buried in the Church of
Paul's Wharf, in London. John Denham
and then Christopher Wren
followed him as King's
Surveyor of Works.
It was in
his capacity as surveyor that he was asked to conduct some
measurements of Stonehenge.
While some of Jones's observations are
questionable, and his interpretations and conclusions can only be
regarded as fanciful at best, his was the first serious
He was an influence on a number of 18th century architects, notably
and William Kent
an Inigo Jones Road in Charlton, south east London (SE7).
- His father also bore the Basque name "Ynigo"— latinized as
"Ignatius," Chaney, passim.
- The Center for
Palladian Studies in America, Inc., Palladio and English-American Palladianism
- See: The Masque of Augurs;
The Staple of News; A Tale
of a Tub; Love's Welcome at
Bolsover. Jonson's follower Richard Brome also took a swipe at Jones
in The Weeding of Covent
- Hart, Vaughan. Art and Magic in
the Court of the Stuarts. London, Routledge, 1994.
- Chaney, Edward, The Evolution of the Grand Tour:
Anglo-Italian Cultural Relations since the Renaissance,
London, Routledge, 2000.
- Leapman, Michael. Inigo: The Troubled Life of Inigo Jones,
Architect of the English Renaissance. London, Headline Book
- Chaney, Edward, Inigo Jones's 'Roman Sketchbook', 2
vols, London, The Roxburghe Club, 2006.
- Giles Worsley, Inigo Jones and
the European Classicist Tradition (New Haven and London,
- Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones and the Classical
Tradition (Cambridge, 2007).