The great English architect, Indigo Jones, was born in Smithfield, England, on July 15, 1573. He was born the son of a clothmaker, whom he was named after, and aside from that there is little else known of his childhood, including any information about who his mother had been. What is known of him, however, is that he was one of England's most innovative and respected architects, influencing others that came later such as Christopher Wren, an architect, and William Kent, an artist.
At the age of 25, Jones made his first visit to Italy. He remained there for 4 years, studying the architectural works of Andrea Palladino. It is speculated that his trip may have been paid for by the fifth Earl of Rutland, though no source has proof of this. Jones returned to Italy in 1613, this time accompanied by the Earl of Arundel, a well-known English patron and art collector. This visit lasted only a year, but upon his return he had a full understanding of the rules associated with Classical and Renaissance architecture, which he would apply to all of his designs.
Jones had learned much of his basic style before his travels by reading De Architectura, 10 books of Architecture, written by the ancient Roman, Marcus Vitruvius Pollo. It is no coincidence that Palladino was greatly influenced by Vitruvius as well, as he had designed his buildings guided by the same principles. It can be assumed that together, the two had a great impact on Jones' decision to tour around Italy. .
In the year 1615, Jones took the position of Surveyor to the King's Works, or Surveyor to the Crown, depending on the source; the official title is of no importance since they both refer to the same job. He had been associated with the English court since 1605, designing costumes and settings with Ben Johnson (whom he did not get along with very well) for the court's masques. This association gave him a bit of an insider advantage for the surveyor position, offered to him on the death of Simon Basil, his predecessor.