Jones, Inigo

, a celebrated English architect, was born about 1572, in the neighbourhood of St. Paul’s, London, where his father, Mr. Ignatius Jones, was a clothworker. At a proper age, it is said, he put his son apprentice to a joiner, a business that requires some skill in drawing; and in that respect suited well with our architect’s inclination, which naturally led him to the art of designing. It is not probable, however, that he attended long to the mechanical part of his business; for we are told that he distinguished himself early by the extraordinary progress he made with his pencil, and was particularly noticed for his skill in landscape-painting, of which there is a specimen at Chiswick-house. These talents recommended him to the earl of Arundel, or, as some say, to William earl of Pembroke. It is certain, however, that at the. expence of one or other of these lords he travelled over Italy, and the politer parts of Europe; saw whatever was recommended by its antiquity or value; and from these plans formed his own observations, which, upon his return home, he perfected by study. He was no sooner at Rome, says Wai ­pole, than he found himself in his sphere, and acquired so much reputation that Christian IV. king of Denmark sent for him from Venice, which was the chief place of his residence, and where he had studied the works of Palladio, and made him his architect, but on what buildings he was employed in that country we are yet to learn. He had been some time possessed of this honourable post when that prince, whose sister Anne had married James I. made a visit to England in 1606; and our architect, being desirous to return to his native country, took that opportunity of coming home in the train of his Danish majesty. The magnificence of James’s reign, in dress, buildings, &c. furnished Jones with an opportunity of exercising his talents, which ultimately proved an honour to his country. Mr. Seward says, we know not upon what authority, that the first work he executed after his return from Italy, was the decoration of the inside of the church of St. Catharine Cree, Leadenhall-street. We know, however, that the | queen appointed him her architect, presently after his arrival; and he was soon taken, in the same character, into the service of prince Henry, under Whom he discharged his trust with so much fidelity and judgment, that the king gave him the reversion of the place of surveyor-general of his majesty’s works.

Prince Henry dying in 1612, Mr. Jones made a second visit to Italy; and continued some years there, improving himself farther in his favourite art, till the surveyor’s place fell to him; on his entrance upon which he shewed an uncommon degree of generosity. The office of his majesty’s works having, through extraordinary occasions, in the time of his predecessor, contracted a great debt, the privycouncil sent for the surveyor, to give his opinion what course might be taken to ease his majesty of it; when Jones not only voluntarily offered to serve without pay himself, in whatever kind due, until the debt was fully discharged, but also persuaded his fellow-officers to dp the like, by which means the whole arrears were soon cleared. It is to the interval between the first and second of Jones’s travels abroad, that Walpole is inclined to assign those buildings of his which are less pure, and border too much on a bastard style of Gothic, which he reformed in his grander designs.

The king, in his progress 1620, calling at Wilton, the seat of the earl of Pembroke, among other subjects, fell into a discourse about that surprising group of stones called Stonehenge, upon Salisbury plain, near Wilton. Our architect was immediately sent for by lord Pembroke, and received his majesty’s commands to make observations and deliver his sentiments on the origin of Stone-henge. In obedience to this command, he presently set about the work; and having, with no little pains and expence, taken an exact measurement of the whole, and diligently searched the foundation, in order to find out the original form and aspect, he proceeded to compare it with other antique buildings which he had any where seen. After much reasoning, and along series of authorities, his head being full of Rome, and Roman edifices and precedents, he concluded, that this ancient and stupendous pile must have been originally a Roman temple, dedicated to Ccelus, the senior of the heathen gods, and built after the Tuscan order; that it was built when the Romans flourished in peace and prosperity in Britain, and, probably, betwixt | the time of Agricola’s government and the reign of Constantine the Great. This account he presented to his royal master in the same year, 1620, and was immediately appointed one of the commissioners for repairing St. Paul’s cathedral in London.

Upon the death of king James, he was continued in his post by Charles I. whose consort entertained him likewise in the same station. He had drawn the designs for the palace of Whitehall in his former master’s time; and that part of it, the banqueting-house, in a most pure and beautiful taste, was now carried into execution. It was first designed for the reception of foreign ambassadors; and the cieling was painted, some years after, by Rubens, with the felicities of James’s reign. In June 1633 an order was issued out, requiring him to set about the reparation of St. Paul’s; and the work was begun soon after at the east end, the first stone being laid by Laud, then bishop of London, and the fourth by Jones. In this work, Mr. Walpole remarks that he made two capital faults. He first renewed the sides with very bad Gothic, and then added a Roman portico, magnificent and beautiful indeed, but which had no affinity with the ancient parts that remained, and made his own Gothic appear ten times heavier. He committed the same error at Winchester, thrusting a screen in the Roman or Grecian taste into the middle of that cathedral. Jones, indeed, was by no means successful when he attempted Gothic, the taste for which had declined before his time.

During this reign he gave many proofs of his genius and fancy in the pompous machinery for masques and interludes so much in vogue then. Several of these representations are still extant in the works of Chapman, Davenant, Daniel, and particularly Ben Jonson. The subject was chosen by the poet, and the speeches and songs were also of his composing; but the invention of the scenes, ornaments, and dresses of the figures, was the contrivance of Jones *. And in this he acted in harmony with father Ben for a while; but, about 1614, there happened a quarrel between them, which provoked Jonson to ridicule his


In Jonson’s “Masque of Queens,” the first scene representing an ugly hell, which, flaming beneath, smoked onto the top of the roof, probably furnished Milton with the first hint of his hell in “Paradise Lost;” there being a tradition, that he conceived the first idea of that hell from some theatrical representations invented by Inigo Jones.

| associate, under the character of Lantern Leatherhead, a hobby-horse seller, in his comedy of “Bartholomew Fair.” Nor did the rupture end but with Jonson’s death; a very few years before which, in 1635, he wrote a most virulent coarse satire, called “An Expostulation with Jnigo Jones;” and, afterwards, “An Epigram to a Friend;” and also a third, inscribed to “Inigo Marquis Would-be.” The quarrel not improbably took its rise from our architect’s rivalship in the king’s favour; and it is certain the poet was much censured at court for this rough usage of his rival: of which being advised by Mr. Howell, he suppressed the whole satire .*

It is said, the king forbad it to be printed at that time; but it is printed since from a ms. of the late Vertue, the engraver, and is inserted among the epigrams in the 6th vol. of Jonson’s Works, edit. 1756, in 7 vols. 8vo.

In the mean time, Mr. Jones received such encouragement from the court, that he acquired a handsome fortune ;

His fee as surveyor was eight shillings and four pence per day, with an allowance of forty-six pounds a year for house-rent, besides a clerk, and incidental expences. What greater rewards he had are not upon record, But Philip earl of Pembroke, who, if once the patron of Jones, afterwards fell out with him, says, in some ms notes on the edition of Stonehenge, that Jones had 16,000l. a year for keeping the king’s houses in repair. This is probably exaggerated. Jones built the noble front of Wilton-house, and, as Walpole conjectures, some disagreement took place between him and the earl while employed here.

which, however, was much impaired by what he suffered during the rebellion; for, as he had a share in his royal master’s prosperity, so he had a share too in his ruin. Upon the meeting of the long parliament, Nov. 1640, he was called before the house of peers, on a complaint against him from the parishioners of St. Gregory’s in London, for damage done to that church, on repairing the cathedral of St. Paul. The church being old, and standing very near the cathedral, was thought to be a blemish to it, and therefore was taken down, pursuant to his majesty’s signification, and the orders of the council in 1639, in the execution of which, our surveyor no doubt was chiefly concerned. But, in answer to the complaint, he pleaded the general issue; and, when the repairing of the cathedral ceased, in 1642, some part of the materials remaining were, by order of the house of lords, delivered to the parishioners of St. Gregory’s, towards the rebuilding of their church. This prosecution must have put Mr. Jones to a very large expence; and, during the usurpation afterwards, he was constrained to pay 545l. by way of composition for | his estate, as a malignant. After the death of Charles Ihe was continued in his post by Charles II.; but it was only an empty title at that time, nor did Mr. Jones live long enough to make it any better. In reality, the grief, at his years, occasioned by the fatal calamity of his former munificent master, put a period to his life July 21, 1652, and he was buried in the chancel of St. Rennet’s church, near St. Paul’s wharf, London, where there was a monument erected to his memory, which suffered greatly by the dreadful fire in 1666.

In respect to his character, we are assured, by one who knew him well, that his scientific abilities surpassed most of his age. He was a perfect master of the mathematics, and was not unacquainted with the two learned languages, Greek and Latin, especially the latter; neither was he without some turn for poetry *. A copy of verses composed by him is published in the “Odcombian Banquet,” prefixed to Tom Coryate’s “Crudities,” in 1611, 4to. But his proper character was that of an architect, and the most eminent of his time on which account he is still generally styled the British Vitruvius the art of designing being little known in England till Mr. Jones, under the patronage of Charles I. and the earl of Arundel, brought it into use. This is the character given him by Mr. Webb, who was his heir; and who, being born in London, and bred in Merchant Taylors’-school, afterwards resided in Mr. Jones’s family, married his kinswoman, was instructed by him in mathematics and architecture, and designed by him for his successor in the office of surveyor-general of his majesty’s works, but was prevented by Sir John Denham. Mr. Webb published some other pieces besides his “Vindication of Stone-henge restored

Inigo Jones’s Discourse upon Stonehenge being left imperfect at his death, Mr. Webb, at the desire of Dr. Harvey, Mr. Selden, and others, perfected and published it at London in 1655, fol. under the title of “Stonehenge restored;” and prefixed to it a print of our author etched by Hollar, from a painting of Vandyck. Dr. Stukeley, in hts “Stone-henge: a Temple of the Druids,” gives several reasons for ascribing the greatest part of this treatise to Webb. 2. “The Vindication of Stonehenge Restored,“&c. was published in 1665, fol. and again, together with Jones’s and Dr. Charlton’s upon the same subject, in 1725, fol. It is remarkable, that almost all the different inhabitants of our island have had their advocates in claiming the honour of this antiquity. Mr. Sammes, in his Britannia," will have the structure to be Phoenician; Jones and Webb lieved it Roman; Aubrey thinks British; Charlton derives it from the

;” and dying at Butleigh, his seat in Somersetshire, Oct. 24, 1672, was buried in that church.

Ben Jonson, by way of ridicule, calls him, in “Bartholomew Fair,” a Parcel-poet.

| Walpole enumerates among his works which are still in part extant, the new quadrangle of St. John’s college, Oxfqrd the queen’s chapel at St. James’s the arcade of Oovent-garden and the church Gunnersbury, near Brentford Lincoln’s Inn Chapel, and one or two of the houses in Lincoln’s-inn-fields Coleshill in Berkshire, and Cobham hall in Kent; the Grange, in Hampshire; the queen’s house at Greeirwich, &c. Several other of his buildings may be seen in Campbell’s “Vitruvius Britannicus.” The principal of his designs were published by Mr. Kent in 1727, fol. as also some of his less designs in 1744, foL Others were published by Mr. Isaac Ware. Our artist left in ms. some curious notes upon Palladio’s “Architecture,” now in Worcester college, Oxford, some of which are inserted in an edition of Palladio, published at London, 1714, fol. by Mr. Leoni; which notes, he says, raise the value of the edition above all the preceding ones. His original drawings for Whitehall-palace are also in Worcester library. 1

Biog. Dict. Walpole’s Anecdotes.