Born on 16th of July 1573
Died in Edmonton, London
Died on 21st of June 1652
Little is known of the early life of Inigo Jones, widely regarded as the first great English architect. He was born the son of a cloth worker in Smithfield, London, on July 15 1573. His earliest commissions were as a costume and stage designer to Queen Anne in the early 1600s, an activity he continued even after his architectural career flourished.
Through his aristocratic connections Jones was able to study Renaissance architecture in Italy and was one of the first Englishmen to do so. He made two visits, from 1598 to 1603 and from 1613 to 1614, and encountered the works of Andrea Palladio whose Palladian style Jones brought to England and it is believed to Denmark where he is credited as the architect of two palaces. Between these visits he was appointed surveyor of works to the Prince of Wales and on his return from Italy in 1614 he became surveyor to the king. Also in this period between his travels he collaborated with Ben Jonson on various masques staged to entertain James I.
The earliest surviving work of Inigo Jones is the Queens House in Greenwich which he began in 1616. An important early commission was the modernization of Whitehall Palace which included the new Banqueting Hall at Whitehall (1619 to 1622) which had a ceiling painted by Rubens. Certainly the best known of Inigo Jonesí surviving works is Covent Garden. His 1630 design for this originally residential square was based on an Italian piazza. Almost as celebrated was his work on Lincolnís Inn Fields. Jones was also responsible for the restoration of the old St Paulís Cathedral. Sadly his magnificent portico was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
With the success of Parliamentary forces in the English Civil War Jones was in 1645 to lose his appointment as surveyor to Charles I. His property was confiscated by Parliament but was returned a year later. Inigo Jones died on 21 June 1652.
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