Inigo Jones



  • (1573 - 1652) English architect and stage designer, whosework with court masques brought several innovations to theEnglish stage.

    Jones, having visited Italy in 1603 and seen the great theatersat Vicenza and Parma, became an exponent of baroque theater design.He also studied design and painting while employed at the court ofChristian IV of Denmark, whose sister, Anne, was James I of England'squeen.

    In 1605 Jones was employed at the English court to design sets andcostumes for masques by the dramatist Ben Jonson, the first beingThe mask of Blackness. However, before long Jones's extravagant setsand costume designs, such as those for Oberon in Oberon, the Fairy Prince(1611), began to overshadow the dramatic content and a feud developed betweenthe two men. Jonson savagely satirized Jones in several plays (seeLeatherhead Lanthorn).

    Jones also produced plays at Oxford's Christ Church Hall,where he introduced revolving Italian screens. He later pioneeredthe proscenium, the backcloth (see cloth),and painted flats that moved on a grooves system.

    During the Civil War, Jones's fortunes fell with the monarchy.He was captured and his estate was confiscated, but later restored;he died without adequate funds. More than 450 of his drawings anddesigns exist in the library of Chatsworth house, Derbyshire.