Cover image for Inigo : the troubled life of Inigo Jones, architect of the English renaissance
Inigo : the troubled life of Inigo Jones, architect of the English renaissance
Leapman, Michael, 1938-
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Publication Information:
London : Review, 2003.
Physical Description:
xviii, 414 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), portraits ; 24 cm
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NA997.J7 L43 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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One of the first and greatest of the English Renaissance architects, Inigo Jones was an unlikely candidate to change the landscape of British style and design. Yet this self-taught son of a Smithfield cloth worker was to bring classicism to England and his surviving buildings - including the the Banqueting House in Whitehall and the Queen's House at Greenwich - remain testaments to his talent. A difficult, troubled man he revolutionised British architecture by introducing the classical forms he had discovered on his journeys to Italy. elaborate costumes and settings of Jacobean court masques, often in collaboration with the poet Ben Jonson, with whom he had a long and bitter rivalry. These extravagant and costly masques became a symbol of the spendthrift, self-absorbed Stuart monarchy and Jones was seen as guilty by association when Civil War was declared in 1642. Forced to take refuge from the rampaging Parliamentary forces, he was finally arrested in 1645 and stripped of his property. In 1649, Jones learnt that the King had been executed in front of the Banqueting House that he had designed for him. Jones himself died three years later.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Having begun his career as an innovative theatrical set designer of masques for royal courts in collaboration with the poet Ben Jonson, Inigo Jones (1573-1652) was among the most noted of British Palladian architects. Best known for the Queen's House at Greenwich and for the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London, Jones interpreted Palladio's principles and buildings with dignity and originality. Written with novelistic flair and journalistic detail, this biography begins with perhaps its most important feature, a time line indicating significant events in each year of Jones's life from 1603 on. Leapman (The World for a Shilling) includes great detail on the profound influence of the architect's continental travels. Unfortunately, a signature of color illustrations and low-resolution black-and-white images dispersed throughout do not do justice to the work; because of its superior illustrative material and greater depth, James Lees-Milne's The Age of Inigo Jones (o.p.) remains the better choice. For large collections only.-Paul Glassman, Hofstra Univ. Lib., Hempstead, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Leapman's well-written study of Inigo's work offers a window into life at the court of Britain's early Stuart kings. Inigo is now remembered as the architect who designed the Banqueting House in Whitehall, but in his time, he was well-known for devising (in collaboration with playwright Ben Jonson) the extravagant sets and magnificent costumes for elaborate, allegorical court masques at which guests, wearing masks, participated with actors in spectacular plays that included recitals, dances, and parades. James I's masques involved revelry replete with infamous "double dinners" and "orgiastic feasts" that were the king's delight. Charles I's masques involved less drinking but more money, and thus contributed to parliamentary resentment and eventual revolution. Inigo's architectural work was sometimes in conjunction with his service as king's surveyor-general. Parliament did not appreciate his royalist sympathies and fined Inigo heavily. Undaunted, he later designed Wilton House near Salisbury, Wiltshire, in the style of his great Italian mentor, Andrea Palladio. William Dobson's portrait of Inigo on the dust jacket aptly depicts him in troubled old age "disillusioned by the turmoil of the times." Leapman's work is well documented, with excellent illustrations, complete bibliography, and useful appendix. ^BSumming Up: Highest recommendation. All levels/libraries. W. W. Reinhardt Randolph-Macon College