" . . . on the sudden
A Roman thought hath struck him."
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 1, Sc. 2
Indeed, it came like a thunderbolt, the conviction that buildings in England must, in order to be beautiful, conform absolutely to the ideals set by ancient Rome. Accordingly Inigo Jones brought about the most momentous revolution that English architecture has experienced. Yet the biographies of the father of our classical architecture are remarkably few. There is the section in Horace Walpole Anecdotes of Painting. There are Allan Cunningham's (1831) and Peter Cunningham's (1848) Lives; W. J. Loftie Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren (1895) and H. I. Triggs and H. Tanner Some Architectural Works of Inigo Jones (1901). There are Stanley Ramsey's monograph, Inigo Jones (1924), and J. A. Gotch Inigo Jones (1928). Of them all the last is by far the most valuable because Mr. Gotch had done an immense amount of original research. It is still the standard biography of Inigo Jones, to which all students of the architect are bound to refer. Concerning his life few fresh facts have been unearthed during the past quarter of a century, and so in the following pages I have condensed my biographical material. This has given me room to cover not only Jones's work but that of his contemporaries, who tried with varying successes to build in his manner. Nevertheless, I have not attempted to include all those buildings at one time or another ascribed to Inigo's design. I have purposely extended the age of Inigo Jones beyond his death up to the Restoration of Charles II. If I occasionally stray over the year 1660, it is in pursuit of his contemporaries who had the temerity to survive him, or of a younger generation of architects and craftsmen who continued to work under his influence. I do not include men like Hugh May and William Winde who never practised before the Restoration and, after it, were to build under the influence of Wren.
The Age of Inigo Jones may not be read as literature. It is frankly a reference book, without being a work of scholarship. There is little to be found in it that has not been recorded elsewhere, "for I am"--to purloin the words of Sir Henry Wotton --"but a gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff". My book is rather an attempt to collate what has appeared in numerous learned articles published both before and since Mr. Gotch's book. Since these are scattered in many different periodicals they are not always easily procurable. Lack of space has not allowed me to refer to more than a fraction of them in my text. For the same reason I have not been able to acknowledge all the books from which I have gleaned information. Yet I must express . . .