Inigo Jones came from a humble beginning. He is thought to have been born on or around the 15th of July, 1573 in Smithfield, London. While the exact date of his birth is unconfirmed, it is known that he was baptized on July 19th, 1573 in the church of St Bartholomew the Less. Jones was named after his father, a Welsh cloth worker. The origin of their shared first name is a mystery, as it is not Welsh and the family had no direct Spanish ties. Beyond these few facts and conjectures, little is known about Jones’s life until he was in his thirties. It is thought that Jones received some basic education, but was self-taught in more intellectual matters. According to Sir Christopher Wren, a later successor to Jones’s future position in the royal court, Jones was apprenticed to a joiner in St Paul’s Churchyard. This is backed up by the vocabulary used in some of Jones’s notes and a caricature of him found in Ben Jonson’s 1633 play, A Tale of a Tub.
One fact about Jones that is known is that he was well traveled. He made two trips to Italy during his life, the first occurring sometime between 1598 and1603. While there, Jones became fluent in Italian and studied architecture. He became fascinated by the Roman ruins and was greatly influenced by the work of Italian architect Andrea Palladio. While in Italy, Jones also attended theatre productions in Florence, which no doubt aided him later in his first major role in the court.
The first confirmed record of employment for Jones is from 1603 as ‘picture maker’ for the fifth earl of Rutland, Roger Manners. Two years later, Jones began his first employment at the British court as set and costume designer for a series of theatrical masques promoted by Queen Anne. The first …
… on June 21st, 1652.
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“Inigo Jones (1573 – 1652).” BBC. Retrieved 5 Aug. 2011 .