Inigo Jones (15 July 1573 – 21 June 1652) was a famous English architect in the early modern period. He was the first person to introduce the architecture of Ancient Rome and the Italian Renaissance to Britain. His buildings were the first in Britain to employ Vitruvian rules of proportion and symmetry. He also made a major contribution as a theatre designer. He designed the scenery and costumes for many masques (a kind of early opera).
Portrait of Inigo Jones painted by Anthony van Dyck
|Born||15 July 1573|
|Died||21 June 1652 (aged 78)|
Jones was born in the Smithfield district of London. His father, also called Inigo Jones, was a cloth worker from Wales. As a very young man, he as an apprentice carpenter at St Paul's Cathedral. Some time before 1603 a rich patron (possibly the Earl of Pembroke or the Earl of Rutland) sent him to Italy to study drawing. After Italy he travelled to Denmark where he worked for King Christian V on the designs for the king's Rosenborg and Frederiksborg palaces. When he returned to England he began work as a theatre designer and architect. In September 1615, King Charles I appointed Jones as the Surveyor-General of the King's Works. From 1629 to 1635 he worked for buildings in Covent Garden.
Jones's career as a full-time architect ended with the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642. The Parliament of England seized all of the King's houses in 1643. In his later years Jones lived in Somerset House in central London. He died there on 21 June 1652. He was buried with his parents at the Church of St Benet. St Benet's was the Welsh church of the City of London.