Inigo Jones 1573-1652

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Inigo JONES 1573-1652

Biographical Note

Born in London, son of Inigo Jones, clothworker. Little is known of his early career, but he may have been apprenticed to a joiner. He is known to have travelled extensively in Italy and elsewhere in Europe around the turn of the 17th century. In 1605 he was paid as a designer of sets and costumes for a court masque, and he was regularly employed in similar work in the succeeding years, for the royal court and for members of the aristocracy. After further travels abroad he became Surveyor of the King's Works in 1615, becoming increasingly involved in architectural commissions; he designed or repaired numerous significant London buildings of the period, including the Banqueting House, Somerset House, the Queen's Palace at Greenwich, and the pre-Fire St Paul's Cathedral. He also continued to be involved in the staging of masques and plays. He was dismissed by parliament from his surveyorship in 1643 and fined, but he remained in London until the end of his life and his will reveals an extensive estate valued at over £4000.


46 books from Jones's library, now widely dispersed, have been identified, though there must have been more; his marginalia has been used to demonstrate the range of his reading. His will has no mention of books, but is mostly concerned with monetary bequests to his family and associates.


  • Will of Inigo Jones, The National Archives PROB 1/39.
  • Anderson, C., Inigo Jones’s library and the language of architectural classicism in England, Ph.D, Massachusetts Inst of Technology, 1993.
  • Handa, R., Authorship of The most notable antiquity (1655): Inigo Jones and early printed books, The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 100 (2006), 357-78.
  • Newman, John. "Jones, Inigo (1573–1652), architect and theatre designer." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Rhodes, D. E., Some English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish book-collectors in Italy, 1467-1850, in Rhodes, D. E. (ed), Bookbindings and other bibliophily: essays in honour of Anthony Hobson, Verona, 1994, 247-76, p.257-8.