is for Inigo Jones, b 1573, d 1652 – England’s first prominent architect. Jones had far reaching impact on furniture design by the fact that the ideas he unleashed impacted Briton and everything she touched for over 150 years. Before taking the role of Surveyor General of the King’s Works for James I, he studied in Italy and became an admirer of the work of Andrea Palladio. He introduced Palladianism to the British Isles where the English embraced this new contemporary form of classicism with a greater fervor than the Italians. A true classicist, Palladio paid homage to the past; his designs emphasized symmetry, proportions, and a reverence for the classic orders. Yet with an eye towards the future he designed country villas that broke free from the medieval fortress mentality; designing large country estates that celebrated the surrounding landscape.
On the rising tide of the British Empire this design approach spread across the globe. Although we don’t have a furniture style designated Palladian, it underpins all furniture known as Georgian, William & Mary, Queen Anne, Chippendale, and Federal. Basically everything produced during the golden age of the cabinatemaker circa 1680 – 1820 had its roots in this classical approach.
George R. Walker