Inigo Jones, 1573-1652

A half-length portrait to left, with the sitter wearing a brown coat, large plain white collar and cuffs, a brown skull-cap and holding a paper in his left hand. It was commissioned in 1757 by Sir Edward Littleton, MP (circa 1725-1812) when he was refurbishing his mansion, Teddesley Hall in Staffordshire, and collecting portraits of 'British worthies' for its decoration. These included a series of six terracotta library busts commissioned from Rysbrack, of which the National Maritime Museum holds three; of Cromwell, Sir Walter Ralegh and Francis Bacon.

Hogarth was commissioned to paint Jones from a well-known print by Robert van der Voerst, after a red-chalk drawing by Van Dyck now at Chatsworth. The print and Hogarth's portrait are a reversed image of the drawing, which itself relates to Van Dyck's rather simpler oil portrait of Jones, now in the Hermitage collection, St Petersburg. Hogarth admired Van Dyck's style of portraiture, which he thought had inspired an English tradition, and he aspired to emphasize such continuity. Thus, in this portrait, he has attempted to reconstruct an image in the spirit of the earlier artist.

Inigo Jones was celebrated as a designer of entertainments for the courts of James I and Charles I but his posthumous reputation is based on his architectural work. He was one of the first Englishmen to make a detailed study of the buildings of ancient Rome and of the works of the Italian Renaissance architects, particularly Andrea Palladio. Having been Surveyor to Henry, Prince of Wales, 1610-12, he became Surveyor-General to his father, James I, in 1615 and (from 1625) to Charles I. Jones introduced into England a rigorous interpretation of the classical language of architecture, including the hierarchical use of the architectural orders and their attendant details arranged through the appropriate use of number, measure and proportion. His influence was curtailed by the English Civil War (1642-49) but he enjoyed a great revival among Palladian architects of the 18th century. Of his own work, the Queen's House at Greenwich and the Banqueting House, Whitehall, are the major surviving examples. The Museum manuscript collection includes two letters from Hogarth to Littleton relating to delivery of this portrait (19 May and 9 September 1758; ref. AGC/6/28 and 29).

Object Details

ID: BHC2810
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Hogarth, William
Places: Greenwich
Date made: 1757-1758; 1757-58
Exhibition: Art for the Nation; Caird Collection
People: Jones, Inigo
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Frame: 1134 x 915 x 90 mm;Painting: 915 mm x 710 mm

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