Inigo Jones, an English architect, born in London about 1572, died July 21, 1652. He was of humble origin, and in early life is said to have been apprenticed to a joiner; but manifesting a strong inclination for drawing, he attracted the notice of the earl of Pembroke, who afforded him the means of procuring an art education abroad. During several years he made careful studies of the chief architectural monuments of France, Germany, and Italy. In Venice he became acquainted with the masterpieces of Palladio, whose style he subsequently transplanted into England. At the invitation of Christian IV. of Denmark he visited Copenhagen in 1604, and furnished, it is said, the designs for the royal residences of Rosenborg and Frederiksborg. In 1605 he returned to England, where he was employed by James I. to prepare the scenery, decorations, and machinery for the masques written by Ben Jonson, which were among the chief amusements of the court. He became a person of considerable consequence at court, and by his overbearing manners incurred the enmity of his dramatic associate Jonson, who satirized him under the name of Lantern Leather-head in his "Bartholomew Fair." In 1612, upon the death of Prince Henry, to whom he had been appointed architect, he revisited Italy, and succeeded in materially improving his style.
Upon his return he was appointed surveyor general of the royal buildings, and during the next 25 years was occupied with many important public works. His designs for the palace at "Whitehall, of which only the banqueting house was built, are considered his masterpieces; besides which he designed the river front of Somerset house, a Corinthian portico added to old St. Paul's, the arcade and church of St. Paul, Covent Garden, York stairs, surgeons' hall, Shaftesbury house, Ashburton house, and many private residences in various parts of England. At the request of James I. he made a careful examination of the druidical remains at Stone-henge, and pronounced them part of a temple of the Roman or Tuscan order dedicated to Coelus. The errors of his restoration, as disclosed in his "Essay on Stonehenge," published after his death by his son-in-law John Webb (fob, 1655), have since become apparent. During the civil war he adhered to the royal cause, and suffered so much from fines and other persecutions that he died broken-hearted and in poverty. He was an accomplished classical scholar and mathematician, and occasionally wrote verses. His publications consist of a masque and several miscellaneous essays, and he also left some notes on Palladio's architecture.