[JONES, Inigo]. WORSLEY, Giles. Inigo Jones and the European Classicist Tradition. New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2007.
4to. Publisher's cloth, dust jacket; pp.xi + [I] + 220, illustrated throughout in colour and b/w; fine.
First edition. In this ground-breaking volume, the first book-length study for forty years on one of England's greatest and most influential classical architects, conventional assumptions about Inigo Jones are turned on their head. Traditionally, Jones has been looked upon as an isolated, even old-fashioned, figure in European architecture, still espousing the Palladian ideals of the sixteenth century when his European contemporaries were turning to the Baroque. Through a wide investigation of contemporary European architecture and a detailed examination of Jones's buildings, Giles Worsley shows this impression to be false and demonstrates that Inigo Jones must be understood within the context of a European-wide, early seventeenth-century classicist movement. A broad-ranging survey of contemporary architecture in Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands reveals how many powerful parallels there are on the Continent with Jones's work in England. This is followed by a close study of Jones's buildings, looked at in terms of both their chronological development and the growing complexity of different building types. By focusing on the importance of the classical ideal of decorum, in which the richness of a building's decoration depends on the status of its owner and function, Worsley shows how Jones can be understood only by examining the full range of his architecture, in which the humble stable is as revealing as a royal palace. At the same time key motifs that have long been seen as proof of Jones's Palladian loyalities, particularly the Serliana, the portico and the centrally planned villa, are shown to have a much older and deeper meaning as symbols of sovereignty. By taking this approach Giles Worsley not only transforms our understanding of Inigo Jones but also forces us to look with fresh eyes at early seventeenth-century European architecture as a whole.