Navigation – Plan du site
Architecture et théorie. L’héritage de la Renaissance - Jean-Philippe Garric, Frédérique Lemerle et Yves Pauwels (dir.)

Words Fail Me: architectural experience beyond language

Christy Anderson

Texte intégral

Fig. 1. Inigo Jones’s annotations on the Corinthian order in Book I of Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri dell’architettura (Venice, 1601)

Fig. 1. Inigo Jones’s annotations on the Corinthian order in Book I of Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri dell’architettura (Venice, 1601)

The Provost and Fellows of Worcester College, Oxford.

1When we open up the pages of the books that once belonged to the English architect Inigo Jones (1573-1652), we are bombarded with words. Along each margin and across the plates themselves, and in the blank spaces of the page, are notes by Jones (fig. 1). The densest annotations are in his copy of Andrea Palladio’s I Quattro libri dell’architettura (Venice, 1601) that he purchased not long after it was published and wrote in throughout his career. In fact, there are likely more words by Jones in his copy of Palladio than there are words by Palladio himself. Jones’s famous handwriting, cramped and adjusted to the narrowness of the margin, is the running commentary on these printed texts and images. These notes are the cinematic voice-over, forever wedded to the text in a permanent gloss and record of the book’s effect on its reader.

2This essay will suggest that for Jones the books he read established an expectation of Renaissance architecture that was ultimately dislodged by the visual and emotional experience of seeing the buildings themselves. If Jones began his architectural career searching for the key to architectural classicism in the details and nuances of the orders, he ultimately experienced an aesthetic discernment that was both personal and professional.

  • 1  Sarah Mcphee, “The architect as reader”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 58, 1 (...)
  • 2  On annotating in the Renaissance see Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, “Studied for action: How Ga (...)
  • 3  Helen J. Jackson, Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2001.

3The annotations by Jones are a remarkable historical survival and offer tremendous evidence of how this architect read and interpreted his books. The importance of these annotations spreads in many directions, and have endless importance for scholars of Jones and the English architecture of the early seventeenthcentury, but also for historians of the Renaissance and its fortuna for they give us hints as to how architecture and architectural books of the fifteenth, sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries were understood and interpreted1. Marginal annotations by early modern readers help us to understand the reception of books and their contents2. The search for notes and other evidence of use have fueled sub-fields of the humanities including history of the book and reception studies3.

  • 4  Andrea Palladio, The Architecture of A. Palladio, in four books, Revis’d, Design’d, and Publish’d (...)

4Jones’s annotations are the most extensive examples of notes by a working architect of the time, and have been recognized as important almost from the moment of his death. In his will, Jones took special care that the books would be kept together and held in trust by his assistant, John Webb. Later architects, authors and editors recognized the importance of the library as the link between English architecture and the classical tradition as it had developed in Northern Italy during the sixteenth century. When Giacomo Leoni intended to publish his English translation of Palladio in 1715, he advertised the venture with claims that he would include in the publication “several Notes and Observations made by Inigo Jones never printed before”4. Under pressure to bring out his book quickly, Leoni did not receive permission to include Jones’s annotation in time for publication of his Palladio translation. He had hoped to ensure the success of his publishing venture by establishing the seventeenth century English link back to Palladio. Jones’s annotations were the physical traces of that architectural lineage.

5The annotations survive from a turning point in the history of English architecture: the adoption of a more rigorous form of architectural classicism than had previously been used by English architects. The simultaneous shift in architectural style and the density of annotations in books on architectural classicism by the main practitioner of that style have an obvious causal connection. Jones read carefully, at times obsessively, about architectural classicism in order to understand its inner workings. He needed to understand classicism with enough fluency so that he could work within its limits, and then shape its language for his own use.

  • 5  Lucy Gent, Picture and Poetry 1560-1620: Relations between Literature and the Visual Arts in the E (...)

6Architectural classicism demands an understanding of ancient architectural precedents and the corresponding classical culture. For architects in England, far from the actual objects of antiquity that information was available through books5.

  • 6  Annarosa Cerrutti Fusco, Inigo Jones Vitruvius Britannicus. Jones and Palladio nella architettonic (...)
  • 7  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones and the classical tradition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, (...)

7One of the most common ways that scholars have used Jones’s annotations has been to comb them for evidence of Jones’s typological and stylistic sources6. Palladio’s treatise is the most copiously annotated of Jones’s books, offering the reader a range of building types to use as models. Books I and IV provide a vocabulary of the orders and ancient building types as justification for his particular formal choices. If Palladio was the main book on Jones’s desk, Jones read it alongside other architectural treatises including Serlio, his copy of Barbaro’s edition of Vitruvius, Vincenzo Scamozzi’s L’Idea dell’architettura universale, and Philibert de l’Orme7.

  • 8  John Harris and Gordon Higgott, Inigo Jones: complete architectural drawings, London, Zwemmer, 198 (...)
  • 9  Ann Blair, “Humanist Methods in Natural Philosophy: the Commonplace Book”, Journal of the History (...)
  • 10  On the Roman Sketchbook see Edward Chaney, Inigo Jones's "Roman sketchbook", London, Roxburghe Clu (...)

8Jones’s annotated treatises are only one type of documentary record that he left behind. The evidence that Jones offers us, from what survives, can be categorized into various types: his buildings, books, and drawings8. Yet there is remarkably little overlap in content between these various types. Jones’s books are filled with words, not images. In fact, there are relatively few drawings in any of his books even when there is sufficient room to draw. Given that he brought the books with him to the continent, carrying his Palladio through France and into Italy in the years 1613-14 (and buying more along the way), it is surprising that there are not more drawings. The absence of drawings in his books may be because he also kept sketchbooks or commonplace books at the same time as he was writing in the margins of the printed books9. Only one of these notebooks survive, the so-called Roman sketchbook, although we know others existed because Jones made reference to them in the margins10. By using these books as a commonplace book, organizing his reading into categories, Jones digested the material in ways that made the book more personally useful. In his notebooks he brought together reading, direct observation of architecture and art, and his commentary on what he saw and read. The format of the notebooks with its blank pages with no predetermined agenda required Jones to bring materials from various sources.

9Yet in his books, on the printed page, Jones’s principle form of response was textual. That is, Jones saw the product of reading and interpretation in the books to be writing, as if the printed books begat writing. Text into more text. This is particularly surprising when Jones is at great pains to explain, in words, what could be done so much more efficiently if he had decided to draw. When he writes about a particular use of an order that he studied and saw in one of Palladio’s buildings, he could have sketched that quickly – yet he describes it in words. The density of writing, trying to capture what was in the plates of Palladio in words, suggests almost a level of discomfort with the images, as if he did not trust or fully understand what they were showing.

  • 11  See Georgia Clarke and Paul Crossley (eds), Architecture and Language: Constructing Identity in Eu (...)

10The precedence that Jones gives to words also indicates that he approached the printed treatises of Alberti, Serlio and Palladio as grammars of a foreign language. He read the books (and especially the Palladio) in sequence: that is, the principles of the orders followed by their use in buildings followed by their antecedents in antiquity. Antiquity justified the grammar, the syntax, and even the idioms of classicism11.

  • 12  Sebastiano Serlio, Sebastiano Serlio on Architecture, vol. I, Books I-V of 'Tutte l'opere d'archit (...)

11Jones is exactly the kind of reader that Palladio or Serlio had in mind; in fact, when Serlio explains why he chose to publish Book IV first – he said he thought it would be “more relevant and more important than the others for the understanding of the different styles of buildings and their ornaments”12. But the orders in all their complexity and refinement was also the aspect of contemporary architecture that certainly had the greatest interest to the widest range of readers. The detailed parsing of the images by Jones, comparing the solutions for the Corinthian order for example between Palladio, Serlio, Scamozzi, and Vitruvius (in the Daniele Barbaro edition) indicates the intensity with which Jones studied architecture as a textual critic.

Fig. 2. Inigo Jones, Elevation for a New Exchange

Fig. 2. Inigo Jones, Elevation for a New Exchange

The Provost and Fellows of Worcester College, Oxford. Photo: Conway Library.

  • 13  See the discussion on the use of printed sources by English craftsmen in Anthony Wells-Cole, Art a (...)

12Jones’s fascination with continental architecture should not detract us from seeing that he approached treatises as a source of information of new designs. Classicism was exotic, and therefore novel, for an English reader. Craftsmen were always on the lookout for ornament that they could incorporate into their own work. Jones himself, in his early architectural designs, freely combined classical architectural elements from various sources (fig. 2). Treatises, like collections of drawings and sketchbooks, offered new ideas that were transferable into a variety of materials at differing scales. Jones’s first interest in the orders is typical of how an English craftsman might have approached the books of Serlio and Palladio. Yet is it this other side to his reading, his interest in the linguistic aspect of architecture that sets Jones apart from contemporary English readers13.

  • 14  Sebastiano Serlio, Sebastiano Serlio…, op. cit. n. 12, Book IV, p. 254.

13Jones was not alone or innovative, of course, in thinking about architecture as a language. In this he is following his books that presented architecture in the guise of a complete system easily allied to grammatical systems. Sebastiano Serlio laid out the five orders in a systematic and visual fashion as a full visual language. He showed the orders together on one page so that the reader could make comparisons. Serlio says that he is imitating “the ancient writers of comedies, some of whom, when they were to perform a comedy, used to send out a messenger who, in a few words, told the spectators all that the comedy was about”14.

Fig. 3. Ionic Order, John Shute, The First and Chiefe Groundes of Architecture (London, 1563)

Fig. 3. Ionic Order, John Shute, The First and Chiefe Groundes of Architecture (London, 1563)

The Provost and Fellows of Worcester College, Oxford.

  • 15 Vaughan Hart, “From Virgin to Courtesan in Early English Vitruvian Books”, in Vaughan Hart and Pete (...)
  • 16  Henry Wotton, The Elements of Architecture, London, John Bill, 1624, pp. 27-29.

14By extracting the orders from the context of a complete building, or even ancient model, Serlio encourages the reader to interpret the orders within other contexts, including local traditions. In the first English architecture treatise, The First and Chiefe Groundes of Architecture (1563), John Shute presented the orders as different types of human figures15. The Doric is described as equivalent to Hercules, a massive male body with all the characters of the ancient god. According to Henry Wotton, writing in The Elements of Architecture (1624), the Ionic order “doth represent a kinde of Feminine slendernesse, yet saith Vitruvius, not like a light Housewife, but in a decent dressing, hath much of the Matrone … Best knowne by his trimmings, for the body of this Columne is perpetually channeled, like a thicke plighted Gowne …”16 (fig. 3). As a scheme of five elements, comparable yet different, the orders evoked other hierarchical systems already in place. In sixteenth and seventeenth century England, gradations of social class included distinctions of rank and birth, and easily transposed with a classical architectural system. Ben Jonson mocks this easy exchange between class and architectural classicism in his play A Tale of a Tub (1640):

I know his d'ameters, and circumference: ‘A Knight is sixe diameters, and a Squire

Is ive, and zomewhat more: I know't by compasse,

And Skale of man. I have upo' my rule here,

The just perportions of a Knight, a Squire;

With a tame Justice, or an Officer, rampant,

Upo' the bench, from the high Constable

Downe to the Head-borough, or Tithing-man;

Or meanest Minister o' the peace, God save 'un.

(act. IV, scene 1)

Fig. 4. Tower of the Orders. Schools Quadrangle, 1613-19

Fig. 4. Tower of the Orders. Schools Quadrangle, 1613-19

University of Oxford.

  • 17  Edward Chaney, “Quo vadis? Travel as Education and the Impact of Italy in the Sixteenth century”, (...)
  • 18  John Newman, “Laudian literature and the interpretation of Caroline churches in London”, in David (...)

15In England classical columns had become by the sixteenth century a sign of educational reforms based on a humanistic arts curriculum17. The use of a tower of the orders at the School’s Quadrangle in Oxford is just one example of how classical architecture came to stand for classical learning (fig. 4). The literary aspect of architecture found an easy alliance in a climate that valued textual exegesis at the heart of religious reform and classical allusion as part of political policy18.

16The effect of the linguistic analogy, however, on architectural history (and on architecture itself) has been profound and perhaps unexpected. We privilege the history of classicism as a linguistic system most closely aligned with books. Yet one result of the alignment of architecture to language was that it created a hierarchy of status within the field of architecture itself, giving precedence to those aspects of building which could be aligned with an educational program of humanism. Those elements of architecture that did not have that linguistic basis - the work of craftsmen, the attention to materials, the labor of architecture itself - that is, all aspects connected with the vernacular architectural traditions, were now assigned to a secondary status.

Fig. 5. Francesco Villamena, Inigo Jones, engraving

Fig. 5. Francesco Villamena, Inigo Jones, engraving

The Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees. Photo: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art.

  • 19  Edward Chaney, The Evolution…, op. cit. n. 17.

17It was a remarkable turn when Jones added to his self-education the experience of travel. The comments that he makes about the architecture that he has seen, and read about previously, adds information that the author does not include and could only be known by someone who had the almost unique opportunity to see the building. By recording these observations in the margins Jones is writing “more than is in Palladio”, as he notes in Book IV of his copy of I Quattro libri. The very presence of the notes confirms a special status on Jones as both an educated and an experienced architect who had the opportunity to travel19. Anyone could read books but not everyone had seen the buildings. For Jones, travel was a transformation in his professional knowledge of architecture as well as a personal revelation about the intersections of the practice of architecture and the culture of continental humanism. The 1613-14 trip codified Jones’s desire to shape himself in the guise of Palladio and Scamozzi. Self-portraits from this period embed the image of Jones within the sculptural frame of classical sculpture and architecture (fig. 5).

18Jones owned books and read them carefully before he traveled abroad. Books, however, showed buildings as two-dimensional objects, complete yet immaterial in terms of scale, size and materiality. In books, architecture could be studied at a distance, using a comparative method that was at the center of humanistic methods of study and scholarship. Laid out on the page, with measurements and scales provided, the careful reader could extract numerical relationships and linguistic rules from the images, and fill in information from the accompanying text. Yet there was no way to understand the tangible and sensual aspect of architecture. In this way, books shaped Jones’s preconceptions of modern and ancient buildings. Travel, however, upended any simple or fixed notion Jones might have had about how classical architecture worked. On the ground, buildings were never as they seemed in books.

Fig. 6. Inigo Jones’s notes and corrections to the plan of the Palazzo Thiene, Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri dell’architettura (Venice, 1601)

Fig. 6. Inigo Jones’s notes and corrections to the plan of the Palazzo Thiene, Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri dell’architettura (Venice, 1601)

The Provost and Fellows of Worcester College, Oxford.

  • 20  Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri dell'architettura, Venice, Bartolomeo Carampello, 1601, II, 13.
  • 21  It is likely that Palladio did not include this information because he assumed that local architec (...)
  • 22  Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri…, op. cit. n. 20, 1601, II, 13.
  • 23  Vincenzo Scamozzi, L’Idea dell’architettura universale…, Venice, 1615, II, pp. 308-11.

19Antiquities were not whole and complete as Palladio showed them. Nor were Palladio’s own buildings finished as he hoped they would be, and as he showed them in his treatise. For Jones, the inconsistency between book and building offered further evidence that the study of architecture required both hard work in his study, and attentive observation of the buildings in situ. For example, on the plan of the Palazzo Thiene in Book II of Palladio’s treatise, Jones drew dotted lines to indicate that less than half of the palace was finished, and made a note in the margin that “This foure Part is not begoon but the ould building stands”20 (fig. 6). Neither the wood-cut illustrations, nor the brief textual description of the buildings included extensive information on construction techniques or materials21. “I obsearve”, he begins one note, “that the Stucco that c[o]vers the Collombs of bricke is w[i]th marmo pesto and that within the house are only of malta”22. That is, the outside stucco contained ground marble and the material used within was a less precious lime stucco. For an English architect used to different materials and building practices, the techniques used abroad were worthy of extensive comments. In his copy of Scamozzi, Jones later made extensive notes about the practice of covering brick with stucco in order to save expense23.

20What did it mean for Jones to see ancient and modern buildings first hand? The experience of architecture outside of England was not only the observation of buildings that looked different from what he knew in England, but also architecture which felt different. This point requires a bit of an explanation. Jones owned at least four books before he traveled to France and Italy in the company of Thomas Howard, the Earl of Arundel: Giorgio Vasari’s Lives, Vitruvius [Daniele Barbaro edition], Sebastiano Serlio [Tutte l’architecttura], and Palladio. Annotations in these four books can be dated to the years before he traveled – and almost exclusively, those annotations are about the orders and ornament: the differences between the orders, the use of the orders in various types of buildings, and the techniques for composing ornamental details.

  • 24  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones…, op. cit. n. 7, p. 92.
  • 25  Howard Burns, “Inigo Jones and Vincenzo Scamozzi”, Annali di Architettura, 18-19, 2006/2007, pp. 2 (...)

21In contrast, almost all of the annotations that he makes on site are about aspects of the buildings that could only be understood by someone who visited the buildings. The annotations are more personal, more specific to a particular time and place. From masons in Vicenza Jones learned that Palladio had carved one of the capitals of the Palazzo Thiene himself24. There are notes that record conversations with architects or masons, famously his meeting with Vincenzo Scamozzi25. Many of these notes are dated, adding to their specificity in time as well as in place.

  • 26  The intensity of these experiences for Jones, and the impact on his subsequent architecture, evoke (...)

22The trip in 1613-14 marked a turning point in Jones’s career by transforming the ways in which he understood architecture as a physical object. No longer could he approach classical architecture as a discrete object at a distance, or as an abstract problem that could be solved solely through the manipulation of forms. This transformation stayed with Jones for the rest of his career as an architect. After his return from Italy, Jones continued to annotate his books and to read widely in the field of architecture, history, biography, philosophy and music theory. Yet, he never again wrote the same kind of annotations in his books as he had done before that formative trip. Almost without exception, he never again wrote the sort of linguistic analysis of architecture, the close study of the orders and architectural ornament that he had written before his 1613 trip. After this date he added notes that recalled the first hand experiences he had had when he was traveling. His ability to relive the experience of travel, to call it up again in his memory and then transfer those experiences into new architectural analyses and designs, indicates his belief in the importance and validity of his impressions of architecture26.

Fig. 7. Wenceslaus Hollar, Ecclesiae Cathedralis St. Pauli Ab Occidente Prospectus from William Dugdale, The History of St Paul’s Cathedral in London (London, 1658)

Fig. 7. Wenceslaus Hollar, Ecclesiae Cathedralis St. Pauli Ab Occidente Prospectus from William Dugdale, The History of St Paul’s Cathedral in London (London, 1658)

Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

  • 27  On the column in front of Sta Maria Maggiore see Steven F. Ostrow, “Paul V, the Column of the Virg (...)
  • 28  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones…, op. cit. n. 7, pp. 183-196.

23For example, in a long series of annotations on the Temple of Peace in Rome (Basilica of Maxentius) in his copy of Palladio, Jones makes a note about the columns being taken down and one erected in front of Sta. Maria Maggiore. He notes that this happened while he was in Rome. Thus the note is a memory, a recollection of something that he had seen earlier27. He comes back to the annotations on this page as he is thinking about the relationship between the columns of a portico, and the interior space of a church, just as he was engaged in the design for a new west front for the church of St Paul’s in London28 (fig. 7). The other sort of annotation that Jones makes after he returns are historical, contextual comments about the buildings. These were often added with references to other texts, the histories of Herodotus, for example, or the geography of Strabo.

24When Jones writes about ornament in his annotations made after 1613-14, he does so in order to understand ornament’s meaning, not just its grammar. He looks for ways to defend what he likes and what he doesn’t like (personal assessments, indeed) although based on broader principles. Most famously, in a long passage in one of his notebooks he condemns Michelangelo’s architecture as appropriate only for garden architecture or fireplaces, but not for solid, that is masculine, architecture:

  • 29  Inigo Jones, Roman Sketchbook, fol. 76v. Now in the Devonshire Collection.

For as outwardly every wyse man carrieth a graviti in Publicke Places, whear ther is nothing els looked for, yet inwardly has his immaginancy set free, and sumtimes licentiously flying out, as nature hirself doeth often tymes stravagantly, to dellight, amase us sometimes moufe us to laughter, sumtimes to contemplation and horror, so in architecture ye outward ornaments oft to be sollid, proporsionabl according to the rules, masculine and unaffected29.

  • 30  Christy Anderson, “Masculine and unaffected: Inigo Jones and the classical ideal”, Art Journal, 56 (...)
  • 31  Leon Battista Alberti, On the Art of Building in Ten Books, translated by Joseph Ryckwert, Neil Le (...)

25On the one hand in this passage we can connect Jones’s comments in with broader ideas about the changing definition of masculinity in sixteenth and seventeenth century England, a new sobriety in dress that could also be seen in architecture: the restrained exterior of classical architecture as the proper attire for public architecture30. Public, in this case, includes both architecture of state as well as the public façade of the great urban house, the civic sign of its owner’s status and bearing. The distinction between the exterior and interior had been discussed by Alberti: “In a town house the internal parts, such as the drawing rooms and dining rooms, should be no less festive than those of a country one; but the external parts, such as the portico and vestibule, should not be so frivolous as to appear to have obscured some sense of dignity”31. Yet Jones goes much further.

Fig. 8. Giulio Romano

Fig. 8. Giulio Romano

Palazzo Te, Mantua.

  • 32  The literature on modern and contemporary architecture has been much more attentive to the emotion (...)
  • 33  See the discussion of architecture as reflective of emotion in Caroline VanEck, Classical Rhetoric (...)
  • 34  Jeremy Wood, “Taste and Connoisseurship at the Court of Charles I: Inigo Jones and the Work of Giu (...)

26Architecture, in his equation, is a catalyst to experience, a provocateur of emotion. Like nature, buildings are capable of cajoling us into various emotional states32. That is why ornament, solid and proportional, is necessary and significant because it affects us, it moves us emotionally and we are bound to respond33. Jones had recorded just this affect in the work of Giulio Romano at the Palazzo Te, where he noted that Giulio’s use of the Tuscan rustic order (in all of its variations and inventiveness) had the effect of moving the visitor, as Jones himself must have been moved when he too visited the building in 161434 (fig. 8).

  • 35  For a comparable discussion in regard to the architecture of Giulio Romano, see Manfredo Tafuri, “(...)
  • 36  David Howarth, Lord Arundel and his circle, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1985.

27Jones resolved for himself that classicism was just an armature, a skeleton on which the real work of Renaissance architecture is done: the creation of an architecture which is emotionally engaged with the past and actively engaged in current social and historical dynamics35. The language of Renaissance architecture, the use of the orders in all their variety, allowed buildings to do their real and important work: to emotionally move the viewer. Jones knew this from first hand experience. Books offered analytical information about the language of classicism that could be studied at a distance. Yet the experience of the physical presence of ancient buildings, half-buried and awe inspiring in size and complexity, brought classical architecture to life for Jones. His emotional experience of antiquity was fully articulated and shared by his patron on this 1613-1614 trip, Thomas Howard, the Earl of Arundel. Arundel, a passionate collector of antiquities and patron of humanist scholars, offered Jones a model of emotional engagement and rigorous study36.

  • 37  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones…, op. cit. n. 7, pp. 110, 133.

28Ultimately what Jones figured out is that the legacy of the Renaissance is not architectural classicism as some sort of detached architectural language but as a rhetoric of emotion. In both his copy of Alberti and Barbaro’s edition of Vitruvius, Jones praised the connection of the architect to the orator, as one whose job it is to move the audience37. Jones’s extensive work for the court masques, designing stage sets and costumes, sharpened his understanding of all the ways that the visual arts could be used to affect the mind and body.

  • 38  Gordon Higgott, “Inigo Jones in Provence”, Architectural history, 26,1983, pp. 24-34.

29To see Renaissance architecture through Inigo Jones’s eyes then is to construct a natural history of architectural emotion, a great taxonomy of spatial experiences, defined by architectural forms. What would be in this history of powerful emotional architecture? The work of Giulio Romano, to be sure, and Michelangelo. The theatre designs of Serlio, the great Roman antiquities (especially those in France), and the villas of Palladio38. Sixteenthcentury architecture almost exclusively would be part of this, with fewer areas of interest in the Quattrocento. Brunelleschi and even Alberti’s own architecture (though not his writings) made less of an impression on Jones than did the bolder, more highly charged work of sixteenth century artists.

Fig. 9. Wenceslaus Hollar, Banqueting House and the Holbein Gate, Whitehall, drawing

Fig. 9. Wenceslaus Hollar, Banqueting House and the Holbein Gate, Whitehall, drawing

Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge.

  • 39  Gordon Higgott, “'Varying with reason': Inigo Jones's theory of design”, Architectural history, 35 (...)
  • 40  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones…, op. cit. n. 7, pp. 166-183. On wonder generally in England during (...)

30Jones’s Renaissance was personal, emotional, selective and based on his own experience. Books may have formed the foundation, but his buildings rose out of what all his senses had to tell him. As Gordon Higgott has shown, Jones carefully adjusted his architecture based on visual corrections, altering the proportions of the orders in the Banqueting House, for example, to account for the height of the stories39 (fig. 9). More broadly, however, Jones understood that much of the impact of his architecture would derive from its interaction with the urban context and existing buildings nearby. The Banqueting House, for example, with its regular grid like façade, and carefully controlled use of the orders, was startling in contrast to the irregular, brick construction of the rest of Whitehall Palace. The classicism of the Banqueting House had the impact it did because of the disjunction, the contrast between the new and the old, and the disruption of English architectural expectations40.

  • 41 Robert Malcolm Smuts, Court culture and the origins of a royalist tradition in early Stuart England(...)

31This visual anachronism was not an unfortunate side effect of adopting a new style in the midst of a city with older architecture. Classicism for Jones was a powerful mode of building precisely because it did clash with what was already there. It made a greater impact by being different and standing out from earlier building. As the court architect, creating a visual and public image of the court, the contrast between the old and new may have served to highlight the recent succession of monarchs from the Tudor Elizabeth after her death in 1602 to the house of Stuart with King James I from Scotland. A new king, and especially one from Scotland, needed to differentiate his rule from existing traditions. That political imperative could be achieved, as Jones showed, through the evocative use of architectural styles to achieve a desired aesthetic effect. Classicism in and of itself promoted the Stuart agenda through its references to ancient political rule and culture41. But equally important was the disjunction between old and new, Tudor and Stuart, which made the savvy visitor aware that the architecture commissioned by the new monarch was not simply a continuation of what had come before, but the mark of a new era.

32The afterlife of Renaissance architecture, and Renaissance architectural theory, was more than a vocabulary of ornament or a justification through a scholarly attention to the remains of antiquity. Jones offers an example of an astute observer of the architectural condition, coming at the visual and literary debates about buildings as they were taking place in Italian and French culture, as an outsider. In the course of his architectural career he moved rapidly through several phases of work, yet always working out of the English traditions in which he was operating. Continental architecture only had meaning for Jones and his patrons because it could be translated into local idioms. The most powerful lesson Jones offers, however, was his evolution into an understanding of Renaissance architecture as a catalyst for emotional experience, a way to affect the viewer (and architect) through the manipulation of forms.

Notes

1  Sarah Mcphee, “The architect as reader”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 58, 1999, pp. 454-461; Robin L. Thomas, “From the library to the printing press: Luigi Vanvitelli's life with books”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 69, 2010, pp. 508-533.

2  On annotating in the Renaissance see Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, “Studied for action: How Gabriel Harvey read his Livy”, Past and Present, 129,1990, pp. 30–78; William H. Sherman, Used Books. Marking Readers in Renaissance England, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

3  Helen J. Jackson, Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2001.

4  Andrea Palladio, The Architecture of A. Palladio, in four books, Revis’d, Design’d, and Publish’d by Giacomo Leoni, translated from the Italian original by [N. Du Bois], London, John Watts, 1715, preface. See also Eileen Harris, British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785, Cambridge/New York, Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 358.

5  Lucy Gent, Picture and Poetry 1560-1620: Relations between Literature and the Visual Arts in the English Renaissance, Leamington Spa, James Hall, 1981.

6  Annarosa Cerrutti Fusco, Inigo Jones Vitruvius Britannicus. Jones and Palladio nella architettonica culture inglese: 1600-1740, Rimini, Magioli, 1985; John Peacock, The stage designs of Inigo Jones: the European context, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995.

7  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones and the classical tradition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007.

8  John Harris and Gordon Higgott, Inigo Jones: complete architectural drawings, London, Zwemmer, 1989; Stephen Orgel and Roy Strong, Inigo Jones: the theatre of the Stuart court; including the complete designs for productions at court for the most part in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire together with their texts and historical documentation, London/Berkeley, Sotheby Parke Bernet, University of California Press, 1973.

9  Ann Blair, “Humanist Methods in Natural Philosophy: the Commonplace Book”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 53, 1992, pp. 541-551.

10  On the Roman Sketchbook see Edward Chaney, Inigo Jones's "Roman sketchbook", London, Roxburghe Club, 2006. On the discussion of Jones’s other sketchbooks, now lost, see Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones…, op. cit. n. 7, pp. 104-106.

11  See Georgia Clarke and Paul Crossley (eds), Architecture and Language: Constructing Identity in European Architecture, c.1000–c.1650, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

12  Sebastiano Serlio, Sebastiano Serlio on Architecture, vol. I, Books I-V of 'Tutte l'opere d'architettura e prospetiva' by Sebastiano Serlio, translated from the Italian with an introduction and commentary by Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1996, Book IV, p. 253.

13  See the discussion on the use of printed sources by English craftsmen in Anthony Wells-Cole, Art and decoration in Elizabethan and Jacobean England: the influence of continental prints, 1558 – 1625, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1997.

14  Sebastiano Serlio, Sebastiano Serlio…, op. cit. n. 12, Book IV, p. 254.

15 Vaughan Hart, “From Virgin to Courtesan in Early English Vitruvian Books”, in Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks (ed.), Paper Palaces. The Rise of the Renaissance Architectural Treatise, London & New Haven, Yale University Press, 1998, pp. 297-318.

16  Henry Wotton, The Elements of Architecture, London, John Bill, 1624, pp. 27-29.

17  Edward Chaney, “Quo vadis? Travel as Education and the Impact of Italy in the Sixteenth century”, in The Evolution of the Grand Tour. Anglo-Italian Cultural Relations since the Renaissance, London and Portland, Frank Cass, 1998, pp. 58-101; John H. Hexter, “The education of the Aristocracy in the Renaissance”, in Reappraisals in History, Chicago/London, University of Chicago Press, 1979, pp. 45-70; Lawrence Stone, “The Educational Revolution in England, 1560-1640”, Past and Present, 28, 1964, pp. 41-80.

18  John Newman, “Laudian literature and the interpretation of Caroline churches in London”, in David Howarth (ed.), Art and patronage in the Caroline courts, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993pp. 168-188.

19  Edward Chaney, The Evolution…, op. cit. n. 17.

20  Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri dell'architettura, Venice, Bartolomeo Carampello, 1601, II, 13.

21  It is likely that Palladio did not include this information because he assumed that local architects and builders would adapt his designs based on local materials and building techniques.

22  Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri…, op. cit. n. 20, 1601, II, 13.

23  Vincenzo Scamozzi, L’Idea dell’architettura universale…, Venice, 1615, II, pp. 308-11.

24  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones…, op. cit. n. 7, p. 92.

25  Howard Burns, “Inigo Jones and Vincenzo Scamozzi”, Annali di Architettura, 18-19, 2006/2007, pp. 215-224.

26  The intensity of these experiences for Jones, and the impact on his subsequent architecture, evokes a much later discussion of the same psychological effect described by Sigmund Freud. See the discussion of this phenomenon in David E. Karmon, The Ruin of the Eternal City: Antiquity and Preservation in Renaissance Rome, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 3-6.

27  On the column in front of Sta Maria Maggiore see Steven F. Ostrow, “Paul V, the Column of the Virgin, and the new Pax Romana”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 69, 2010, pp. 352-377.

28  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones…, op. cit. n. 7, pp. 183-196.

29  Inigo Jones, Roman Sketchbook, fol. 76v. Now in the Devonshire Collection.

30  Christy Anderson, “Masculine and unaffected: Inigo Jones and the classical ideal”, Art Journal, 56, 1997, pp. 48-54.

31  Leon Battista Alberti, On the Art of Building in Ten Books, translated by Joseph Ryckwert, Neil Leach and Robert Tavernor, Cambridge MA, MIT Press, 1998, p. 300.

32  The literature on modern and contemporary architecture has been much more attentive to the emotional affect of architecture. See Anthony Vidler, Warped Space. Art, Architecture, and Anxiety in Modern Culture, Cambridge MA, MIT Press, 2000.

33  See the discussion of architecture as reflective of emotion in Caroline VanEck, Classical Rhetoric and the Visual Arts in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge MA, Cambridge University Press, 2007. I however would place architecture as a much more potent creator of emotion.

34  Jeremy Wood, “Taste and Connoisseurship at the Court of Charles I: Inigo Jones and the Work of Giulio Romano”, in Eveline Cruickshanks (ed.), The Stuart Courts, Stroud, Sutton Publishing, 2000, pp. 118-140.

35  For a comparable discussion in regard to the architecture of Giulio Romano, see Manfredo Tafuri, “Giulio Romano: linguaggio, mentalitá, committenti”, in Giulio Romano, cat. exp., (Mantua, Palazzo Te, 1989), Milan, Electa, 1989, pp. 15-63.

36  David Howarth, Lord Arundel and his circle, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1985.

37  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones…, op. cit. n. 7, pp. 110, 133.

38  Gordon Higgott, “Inigo Jones in Provence”, Architectural history, 26,1983, pp. 24-34.

39  Gordon Higgott, “'Varying with reason': Inigo Jones's theory of design”, Architectural history, 35, 1992, pp. 51-77.

40  Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones…, op. cit. n. 7, pp. 166-183. On wonder generally in England during this period see Alexander Marr, “’Curious and Useful Buildings’: the 'Mathematical Model' of Sir Clement Edmondes”, Bodleian Library Record, 18, 2004, pp. 108-150.

41 Robert Malcolm Smuts, Court culture and the origins of a royalist tradition in early Stuart England, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Inigo Jones’s annotations on the Corinthian order in Book I of Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri dell’architettura (Venice, 1601)
Crédits The Provost and Fellows of Worcester College, Oxford.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/inha/docannexe/image/3396/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Fig. 2. Inigo Jones, Elevation for a New Exchange
Crédits The Provost and Fellows of Worcester College, Oxford. Photo: Conway Library.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/inha/docannexe/image/3396/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 44k
Titre Fig. 3. Ionic Order, John Shute, The First and Chiefe Groundes of Architecture (London, 1563)
Crédits The Provost and Fellows of Worcester College, Oxford.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/inha/docannexe/image/3396/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Fig. 4. Tower of the Orders. Schools Quadrangle, 1613-19
Crédits University of Oxford.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/inha/docannexe/image/3396/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Titre Fig. 5. Francesco Villamena, Inigo Jones, engraving
Crédits The Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees. Photo: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/inha/docannexe/image/3396/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 68k
Titre Fig. 6. Inigo Jones’s notes and corrections to the plan of the Palazzo Thiene, Andrea Palladio, I Quattro libri dell’architettura (Venice, 1601)
Crédits The Provost and Fellows of Worcester College, Oxford.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/inha/docannexe/image/3396/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 60k
Titre Fig. 7. Wenceslaus Hollar, Ecclesiae Cathedralis St. Pauli Ab Occidente Prospectus from William Dugdale, The History of St Paul’s Cathedral in London (London, 1658)
Crédits Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/inha/docannexe/image/3396/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 80k
Titre Fig. 8. Giulio Romano
Crédits Palazzo Te, Mantua.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/inha/docannexe/image/3396/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 20k
Titre Fig. 9. Wenceslaus Hollar, Banqueting House and the Holbein Gate, Whitehall, drawing
Crédits Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/inha/docannexe/image/3396/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 49k

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Christy Anderson, « Words Fail Me: architectural experience beyond language », in Jean-Philippe Garric, Frédérique Lemerle et Yves Pauwels (dir.), Architecture et théorie. L’héritage de la Renaissance (« Actes de colloques »).

Référence électronique

Christy Anderson, « Words Fail Me: architectural experience beyond language », in Jean-Philippe Garric, Frédérique Lemerle et Yves Pauwels (dir.), Architecture et théorie. L’héritage de la Renaissance (« Actes de colloques »), [En ligne], mis en ligne le 18 avril 2017, consulté le 14 décembre 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/inha/3396

Auteur

Christy Anderson

Architectural historian and teaches at the University of Toronto. Her books include Inigo Jones and the Classical Tradition (Cambridge 2007) and Renaissance Architecture (Oxford History of Art, 2011) and the forthcoming Fusible Stones and Solidified Juices: The Materials of Renaissance Building.

Droits d’auteur

Tous droits réservés