In Stone-Heng Restored (1655), Inigo Jones, the father of English neoclassicism, used drawings, histories, and questionable logic to argue that Stonehenge was built by the ancient Romans and that it originally exhibited perfect Platonic geometries. This argument was never given much credence, but by 1725 the subject matter and the architect had received enough attention that two book-length responses (a challenge and a defense) were published, and both were then republished in a single volume alongside Jones's original text. While most Jones scholars have neglected this work because of its logical and historical shortcomings, Ryan Roark argues in “Stonehenge in the Mind” and “Stonehenge on the Ground”: Reader, Viewer, and Object in Inigo Jones's Stone-Heng Restored (1655) that it was in fact exemplary of what made Jones, for many, a protomodern architect and scholar. Rather than viewing Jones's book as an earnest attempt to prove a historical inaccuracy, Roark considers it as an exercise in formal analysis, one that set the precedent for the contemporary pedagogical trend of using geometric simplifications of existing structures as a first step in new design. Jones's idiosyncratic reading of Stonehenge belied the idea that such analysis could be anything but intensely reliant on the subjectivity of both architect and viewer.
In 1620, King James I commissioned his surveyor general, Inigo Jones, to investigate the origins of England's most celebrated ruin, Stonehenge. Jones dutifully performed what some have called the first archaeological study of Stonehenge.1 His conclusions were not made public until three years after his death, when in 1655 his assistant John Webb published Stone-Heng Restored, a book written by Webb from Jones's notes and including drawings made by Jones.2 The book, written in the first person as though by Jones, asserted that Stonehenge was a Roman ruin and restored it through Jones's drawings to its status as an original work of classicism, derived from basic Platonic geometries. This theory was considered ridiculous even at the time of the book's publication, resulting in sales so low that nearly every copy was destroyed when the publisher's house burned down in the Great Fire of London in September 1666.3
Despite Jones's reputation as the father of neoclassicism in England and Stonehenge's reputation as England's greatest prehistoric treasure, Stone-Heng Restored has received little in-depth scholarly attention until recently.4 Throughout the twentieth century it was treated as an embarrassment by most English architectural historians and admirers of Jones, who found themselves unable to reconcile the architect's creative and intellectual stature with a theory that was dead wrong.5 In some cases, this meant that the book received only brief, dismissive mentions.6 In others, historic context was leveraged to apologize for Jones's faulty conclusions, as when John Summerson called Jones's logic “in its time, intelligent.”7 This treatment ignored the fact that almost no one believed the story even in its time and that Jones was intimately familiar with the architectural thinking of the day, including the arguments against Stonehenge's Roman origins. Because it is unknown, and likely unknowable, just how much of the book represents Jones's thinking and how much was fabricated by Webb, some scholars went so far as to declare Jones entirely innocent and Webb entirely guilty. Historians Timothy Mowl and Brian Earnshaw were particularly indignant on Jones's behalf, proposing that Jones was not “responsible for a word of the book” and that Webb was “in fact, a natural confidence trickster” seeking to advance his career as Jones's successor.8 Most writers on the subject, however, have recognized that Webb was a faithful assistant to Jones for many years and that none of his independent work suggests that he was capable of producing from scratch the drawings and organized argument of Stone-Heng Restored.9 Accordingly, in this article I will not question the subtleties of attribution but will treat the book as Jones's work.
In fact, Stone-Heng Restored is the only surviving text attributed to Jones and thus the best remaining evidence of his thoughts on architecture, apart from the extensive notes he made in the margins of books he owned, notably those in Andrea Palladio's I quattro libri dell'architettura (1570). For this reason, Jones's book has received more attention in recent years, with Stephen Orgel, noted scholar of the English Renaissance, singling it out as “Inigo Jones's most imaginative work of architecture.”10 Orgel and others have written about Jones's attitudes toward English history, Protestantism, monarchy, and theater, as well as architecture, through the lens of Stone-Heng Restored, understanding that Jones's theory does not have to be right in any absolute sense in order to be valuable. What these scholars have failed to underscore, however, is that Jones himself disclaimed the importance of his book's correctness in his closing passage:
But such as sail in the vast Ocean of time, amongst the craggy rocks of Antiquity, steering their course, betwixt anciently approved customs, and convincing arguments, guided by good Authority, and sound judgement, arrive much safer, and with better repute, in the secure Haven of undoubted Truth. For mine own part, I had rather erre happily with venerable Antiquity, then so much as trouble my thoughts with modern conceits. Whether, in this adventure, I have wafted my Barque into the wished Ports of Truths discovery concerning Stoneheng, I leave to the judgement of skilfull Pilots. I have endevoured, at least, to give life to the attempt, trending perhaps, to such a degree, as either may invite others to undertake the Voyage anew, or prosecute the same in more ample manner, in which, I wish them their desired successe, and that with prosperous gales they may make a more full and certain discovery.11
Thus, for Jones, the process and methods of making his argument were more important than its outcome; his hope was that he would push research and inquiry forward so that later scholars would be inspired to pursue and arrive closer to the truth. Although even Jones's apologists point out the scientific failures of his project, his statement reads surprisingly like a modern understanding of scientific method, outlining a search that edges asymptotically closer to the truth without ever reaching it definitively. His reference to the “craggy rocks of Antiquity” evokes the infinitely fractal image of a coastline that can be zoomed in on but never pinpointed, like the once-pristine surface of a crumbling ruin.
Although Jones's book is remote from the “truth” about Stonehenge, it certainly prompted further interest and investigation, much of it speculative. English novelist and history enthusiast John Fowles credited Jones's imaginative approach to the monument with its survival into the present day, writing that Jones's interest in “Stonehenge in the mind rather than Stonehenge on the ground [was] scientifically absurd and yet infinitely beneficial to the actual monument.” In Fowles's view, had Jones employed and encouraged methods more likely to result in scientific truth (i.e., more digging, less philosophizing), “it is very unlikely that we should have had much left to look at.”12 In calling Jones's project a “Stonehenge in the mind,” Fowles raised the question of how much direct correspondence there was for the architect between the physical monument he observed and the book he wrote.
It is typically accepted by those commenting on the book that Jones was attempting to restore Stonehenge with his drawings, as his title suggests. Today, the word restoration is most commonly used in the sense of one-to-one re-creation of an original object (e.g., a restoration of a building); the once equally familiar use of the term to denote the representation of an original object has fallen out of common parlance. Such semantic subtlety may seem a minor or even anachronistic point, but it is clear that there was slippage in the term's use during Jones's lifetime, as seen in the titles of his book and of Dr. Walter Charleton's response to it, Chorea gigantum, or, The most famous antiquity of Great-Britain, vulgarly called Stone-Heng, standing on Salisbury Plain, restored to the Danes.13 In Jones's title, Stonehenge is “restored by Inigo Jones,” while in Charleton's title, apparently alluding directly to Jones's, it is “restored to the Danes.” Notably, Charleton produced no new drawings of Stonehenge—and hence no restoration of it in the sense of Stone-Heng Restored—but only logical arguments for its construction by the Danes. Thus, Charleton used restoration in his title in a different sense than did Jones. This could have been unconscious elision or clever wordplay, which was popular at the time among people of Jones's and Charleton's class; either way, the word had multiple meanings even in the context of these two book titles. Jones, unlike Charleton or Webb after him, produced a full set of drawings of Stonehenge both “as found” and “as restored” (Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).14
Pivotal to Jones's argument for Roman origins was his assumption that Stonehenge, as Architecture with a capital A, could have been produced only by a civilization that used measured drawings, such as the restored plan he inscribed within pure Platonic geometries (see Figure 2). Furthermore, he proposed a set of generative diagrammatic plans showing how a Roman mind would have developed Stonehenge, proceeding logically through classical organization and Platonic geometric relationships (Figures 6, 7, and 8). Thus, while Jones may have been attempting to restore Stonehenge in one sense of the word, he was also restoring (in his own words, “giving life” to) both an original set of working drawings and the original design process as he imagined it.
Inigo Jones has consistently been described by twentieth- and twenty-first-century biographers and other enthusiasts as strangely modern and ahead of his time, and as a pivotal figure in English architecture and culture. Architectural historian Stanley C. Ramsey, for instance, introduced his 1924 monograph on the architect by saying, “Inigo Jones holds a unique position amongst English architects. He is one of those outstanding figures that mark a definite change in the civilization of a country … by reason of the epoch in which they live, almost as much as by their own personal accomplishment.”15 It was common for early twentieth-century historians like Ramsey to put Jones in competition for greatness with noncontemporary architects, including Christopher Wren and Palladio, declaring one to be indisputably above the others in terms of genius.16 Ramsey lamented that it was Wren, not Jones, who worked in London during the building boom that followed the Great Fire.17 Still, for Ramsey and others, Jones's timing was paramount, allowing him to introduce classicism to Britain after Palladio did his work on the Continent and before the rest of Britain caught on.
Perhaps the most auspicious feature of Jones's historical context was the timing of his birth, which occurred just as a printed discourse on architecture was burgeoning on the Continent, allowing architects for the first time to participate in a conversation that would span generations and national borders (even if it was not as internally competitive as Ramsey and other historians would later claim). Jones was born in 1573, three years after the first publication of Palladio's I quattro libri, which was not published in English until 1663. Jones spent much of his youth in Europe and learned to read Italian, while his assistant Webb read Latin; these linguistic abilities allowed Jones to gain access to the growing body of European architectural writings before most of his countrymen could. Thus, he pioneered the model of the intellectual and philosophical architect in England. Following Vitruvius's prescription, he believed the architect should be learned in all topics. As Christy Anderson has pointed out, books made that goal attainable for him.18 Not only did books allow Jones to learn more and faster than had his English predecessors, but they also fundamentally shaped how he saw architecture and his own contribution to it. As Anderson observes:
Books framed the experience of architecture for Jones before he studied the buildings first hand, and served as a reminder of what he had seen when he returned to England. Through books Jones could study with the masters. … Books allowed Jones to enter into what Michel de Montaigne described as a conversation with the dead, and the marginal annotations are the evidence of those debates between reader and author. Although Jones traveled widely for the period and had the opportunity to study continental architecture first hand, that experience was filtered through the representation of architecture in books, both in image and text.19
Jones offered his responses to dead masters, and he was aware of his own place in the middle, or near the beginning, of an architectural conversation unfolding across several generations. Jones alluded to the enduring nature of printed material when he wrote that his goal was “to vindicate … the Founders of this venerable Antiquity from oblivion, and to make the truth, as far forth as possibly I may, appeare to all men.”20 Thus, Jones believed that Stonehenge the monument was not itself sufficient to keep memory alive—and he lamented the lack of written records to help in his efforts to discover its past—but by putting his drawings and theories into print, he could further its restoration to the memory of “all men.”
Jones was a believer in Leon Battista Alberti's method of autopsia, which required firsthand experience of the monuments he studied, and yet, as Anderson points out, book plates provided the first visual experiences Jones had of the Italian architecture he admired and adapted.21 The importance of these images was reinforced when he finally saw the buildings in person and then returned to the texts where he had first encountered them. Alberti famously refused to illustrate his architectural treatise De re aedificatoria (1452), largely because he believed that drawings must be measurable, and he doubted the ability of the existing technology to reproduce drawings accurately.22 Perhaps Alberti also doubted the mind's capacity to durably and accurately retain such images. By the time of Jones's youth, however, printed drawings were foundational for architectural study, and through them, for the first time, relatively large numbers of people could experience important buildings at a distance.23 For those who possessed them, books allowed unlimited visual access to buildings wherever they stood.
Jones, then, recognized the power of print and leveraged it as a persuasive tool in his case for a Roman Stonehenge. His argument was inextricable from his agenda of asserting England's place in the lineage following the Roman Empire—an agenda whose importance may have trumped scientific accuracy in his mind. In acknowledgment of this, Caroline van Eck has written that Jones's “ground plans and reconstructions clearly show that he was not primarily interested in archaeology or an antiquarian search for the material remains of England's oldest past.”24 Instead, Jones unabashedly argued for his preferred style of Roman classicism mixed with English medieval elements, for simplicity of design (as exemplified in the Tuscan order) as opposed to contemporary continental baroque and mannerist architecture, for England's status as heir to what he believed to be the greatest civilization in history, for the elevation of Stonehenge to the status of high Architecture, and for the increased status of the Architect himself. The major intellectual fault of Jones's work is not its lack of scientific process, but the circular logic required to accept all of these ideals simultaneously.
Jones established one congruence after another, with small elisions and assumptions entering at each stage. For instance, if one accepted that Stonehenge is sophisticated—which Jones argued by claiming it could not have been built without advanced geometry, tools, and drawing techniques—and one concurred that the only civilization sophisticated enough to produce such things (and therefore such a structure) before recorded British history was Roman, then one must accept that Stonehenge was Roman. Jones assumed that ancient Britons were not sophisticated enough to have built Stonehenge, and he spent much of his book explaining why. The prevailing theory before, and after, his book was that some tribe of ancient Britons built the monument, although there was heated debate about which tribes were involved.25 Jones did not account for ancient British tribes' ability to understand mechanics and construction without Roman intervention. Once one accepted that the chief monument of prehistoric Britain was Roman, one must also accept that prehistoric Britain itself was highly sophisticated. In Jones's words: “For, if look upon this Antiquity, as an admired and magnificent building, who more magnificent then the Romans?”26 Among the false assumptions here are the notion that drawings were required to build Stonehenge (and, indeed, that Stonehenge looks like Jones's drawings either restored or “as found,” drawings that were manipulated significantly to support his argument) and the “more profound conviction that history is essentially linear and progressive and that civilization comes from the classical world.”27
Twenty-first-century architectural historians are typically wary of “operative criticism”—the use of critical theories about history to promote contemporary design agendas. Stone-Heng Restored is a textbook example of what Manfredo Tafuri called “an analysis of architecture [that] has as its objective the planning of a precise poetical tendency … [that] plans past history by projecting it towards the future.”28 Jones's primary goal in arguing that Stonehenge was Roman was almost certainly the promotion of classicism in England, where it was still mistrusted as a style that went against native tendencies.29 Specifically, Jones advocated for the use of the Tuscan order in civic buildings in England; he claimed that Stonehenge was of the Tuscan order, with each upright originating as a minimally adorned column.30 In an act of perhaps consciously faulty logic, he argued that because Stonehenge has an order (Tuscan) and because there were no orders in England before the Romans, Stonehenge must be Roman. His language throughout his book was never neutral but always rhetorical, persuasive. For instance, in discrediting the ancient Britons, he lavished great detail on the barbarism of Celtic queen Boudica, who was sometimes associated with Stonehenge and who led a bloody rebellion against the Roman Empire in the first century CE: “Boadicia, that ript up the bellies of the Roman Legionaries, and cutting out their bowels impal'd their bodies upon burning stakes; that hanged up the most noble and honourable Roman Dames naked, and slicing off their paps, sowed them to their mouths, as in act of eating them.”31 His recounting only got bloodier from there. By contrast, he did not so much describe the Romans as a people but rather personified them by means of their most admirable creations. Of the Tuscan order, Jones wrote that it was “of this … plain, grave, and humble manner of Building, very solid and strong Stoneheng principally consists.”32
Following his arguments against the monument's ancient British origins and for the similarities between it and Roman design, Jones included three drawings intended to convey the building process (see Figures 6, 7, and 8), his single most operative act (in Tafuri's sense of the word). With these, he proposed a way of working for contemporary English architects who wished to tap into their country's true architectural heritage:
Now considering this discourse may happen into the hands of those, who cannot by words so easily apprehend things of this Art, I have for their satisfaction brought into Design, the plants of both the aforesaid Temples mentioned by Vitruvius, whereby their conformity with Stoneheng, and the invention thereof taken from them, is more clearly manifested.33
Jones described two ancient circular temple types from which he derived his own drawings of Stonehenge: the monopteros, a covered open-air temple supported by a circular colonnade, and the peripteros, an enclosed temple surrounded by an open colonnade and roof. In fact, Jones had specific historical precedents for his drawings: Palladio's ground plan of Le Galluce, the temple of Minerva Medica (Figure 9), and a Vitruvian scheme for a Roman theater as illustrated in Daniele Barbaro's 1556 edition of the Ten Books (Figure 10). The latter provided the end point for Jones's pseudohistoric investigation (compare Figures 2 and 8 to Figure 10). That investigation began with his “restored” original site and footprint plans of Roman Stonehenge, the latter resembling the Vitruvian theater (see Figures 1 and 2). The footprint plan included all the regulating Platonic geometry embedded in the Vitruvian drawing, lending Jones's Stonehenge plan a sense of inevitability and allowing the reader to see from the beginning where the story would end (see Figure 2).
Jones, who believed the history of civilization to be “progressive and linear,” assumed the same of Stonehenge's design process. The move from monopteros to peripteros included only one added element—a circular wall within the monopteros colonnade (see Figures 6 and 7). The move to his third drawing of the design process, however, involved a huge leap, and the reader was expected to have assimilated both the textual and the graphic arguments well enough to fill in the gaps. The second drawing showed a circular cell surrounded by a portico (the peripteros)—a scheme still abstract enough to resemble the double circle of Stonehenge (see Figure 7). The next drawing, however, was significantly less abstract, showing twelve individual rectangular stones in the inner circle that appeared to correspond to six trilithons (with two uprights each) arranged in a perfect hexagon (see Figure 8). In fact, there are only five trilithons in Stonehenge's inner circle, and they form a loose horseshoe in plan, rather than a regular hexagon.34 The drawing was additionally overlaid with Jones's proposed regulating geometry: four equilateral triangles circumscribing the inner circle and inscribed within the outer circle. Although Jones's argument was unconvincing to his audience because its conclusion was so obviously suspect, the geometry itself is rarely interrogated. If one accepts Jones's conclusion (as shown in the plan of Figure 2), two of the regulating triangles hit outer “columns” at each of their vertices and define the edges of inner trilithons with each of their edges, but the other two triangles appear to do little except to echo the Vitruvian precedent. As art historian A. A. Tait has observed, “The points where the triangles touch the [outer] circle at G were without any true purpose.”35
This sort of geometric transformation of historical precedents is today a mainstay of architecture studio education.36 Among Jones's gifts to English architecture, this transformative process is arguably as important as was his classicism. In 1958, when James Stirling and James Gowan were designing Churchill College, Cambridge, in what was then an open field, they saw their design “in terms of something like Stonehenge,” by which they meant that they “[took] out [their] compasses and cut a piece of Platonic geometry into the site.”37 Historian Rosemary Hill suggests that this association of Platonic geometry with Stonehenge by architects can be traced to Jones; she points out that Sir John Soane used Jones's drawings of Stonehenge (instead of more accurate drawings that were by then available) to teach architecture at the Royal Academy in the early nineteenth century.38 Jones's drawings may not have persuaded either contemporary readers or later ones such as Stirling and Gowan that Stonehenge was Roman, but they inextricably linked Stonehenge—and English design by association—with primitive geometry in the collective architectural imagination.
Jones is usually remembered as a staunch advocate of classicism, the man who introduced it to England, but his own buildings were a mix of classical and medieval elements. Accordingly, the operative message of Stone-Heng Restored was significantly more nuanced than a simple discounting of the barbaric native Britons in favor of the civilized Romans. Jones was emphatic that the Druids did not have the sophistication to create such advanced architecture, yet he also showed what Orgel has called an “ambivalent allegiance to the British past,” evincing admiration for the Druids' asceticism, their ties to nature, and their presumably Edenic existence.39 Even at its purest, Jones's classicism was sometimes seen as a throwback by those continental Europeans committed to baroque and mannerist architecture.40 Jones's relatively retardataire enthusiasms were attributable partly to his location in England and his bookish education, with many of the volumes he studied being a generation or more behind those favored by his contemporaries in Europe. Indeed, Ramsey has suggested that Jones was disappointed when he first arrived in Italy and saw the “full tideway of the Baroque.”41 More to the point, Jones was architect to the king of a newly Protestant, newly united nation, and he was conscious of defining a new national architecture in contrast to the Catholic extravagance of continental Europe. He wanted to take the best from the classical tradition, distill it to its essence, and combine it with what was already admired at home. Thus, the Tuscan order, perceived as simple and strong, was particularly English in his mind at a time when it was not in favor on the Continent.
Among Jones's most celebrated buildings, and one of the few still standing, Saint Paul's at Covent Garden (1631)—severe and stripped to Vitruvian essentials—was the first “classical” church in England and the first church built in London after the Protestant Reformation.42 The legend of the church's origins, perpetuated by Horace Walpole in the eighteenth century, was that the Earl of Bedford commissioned it but wanted to keep it as inexpensive and humble as possible, prompting Jones to promise him “the handsomest barn in England.”43 Summerson later claimed that Jones imagined the Tuscan order as used at Covent Garden as “the order closest to natural ideas of construction.”44 Thus, it represented for him both the purity of nature and the sophistication of organized Roman architecture. The earl's insistence on simplicity at Covent Garden calls to mind some of Jones's words about the Druids:
The Druid's led a solitary contemplative life, contenting themselves with such habitations, as either meer necessity invented, to shelter them from contrariety of seasons, without Art … such as Nature alone had prepared for them in dens … esteeming it, questionlesse, the highest secret of their mystery, rather to command in caves and cottages, then live like Kings, in Palaces, and stately houses.45
At the same time, Jones took care to underscore the corruption, lack of culture, and “pretended sanctity” of the Druids, who were neither Christian nor architects.46 Ultimately, the implication was that the ancient Britons were a particularly noble primitive stock who combined with Roman civilization to produce something uniquely British—for Stonehenge was nothing if not quintessentially British to Jones and his patriotic countrymen—an intermingling that culminated in a society that was the rightful successor to the Roman Empire.
Other designs by Jones more explicitly mixed the classical with existing English architectural traditions, as seen in his design for the façade of Old Saint Paul's Cathedral (Figure 11). Jones proposed Corinthian pilasters and classical pediments and statuary, yet Gothic towers remained prominent and a cross surmounted the whole.47 Orgel has explained that this mixing of styles was neither accidental nor singular but instead represented a “pointed and deliberate” choice that Jones made time and time again throughout his career.48 This tendency was made explicit in Jones's work over several decades as a designer of theatrical masques for the Stuart court, a position that in many ways did more immediately for the reception of Renaissance art in England than did Jones's architectural career.49 Jones frequently worked on these masques with playwright Ben Jonson, who saw classical Greek and Roman mythology as continuous with British tradition.50 Jonson and Jones often disagreed—Jonson thought Jones overly rational and too reliant on Euclidean geometry to the exclusion of Neoplatonic magic—but the products of their collaboration consistently fused the classical with English tradition, influencing the aesthetics of British theater for generations to come.51 In their design for The Speeches of Prince Henry's Barriers (1610), written in honor of King James's son Henry and borrowing heavily from Arthurian legend, Merlin was outfitted as a Greek god or, perhaps, as Greek statuary (Figure 12). The following year, Prince Henry performed in another masque by Jonson and Jones, Oberon, the Faery Prince, in which medieval fairies cohabited with satyrs and budded crosses graced the towers of a rusticated, crenellated, classically domed castle (Figure 13).
Even Jones's interpretation of the Roman use of Stonehenge, as a temple to the primal Roman god of the sky, Coelus, has been read as “Christianising [the ruin] in a very Protestant way.”52 Jones reached the conclusion that Stonehenge was a temple to Coelus for two reasons: first, in his restoration, the building had no roof; and second, in a highly selective study of iconography, focusing on Pierio Valeriano's popular handbook Hieroglyphica (1556), Jones learned that for the ancient Egyptians, the circle represented Coelus.53 He omitted mention of the dozen or more other meanings of the circle and double circle given by Valeriano, however.54 John Harris, Stephen Orgel, and Roy Strong argue that this interpretation was Christianizing because Coelus was never worshipped by the ancients but was instead a “personification of the heavens,” seen as “an imperfectly realized version of God the Father” by those who chose to see classical and Christian civilization as continuous.55 Thus, for Jones, Stonehenge became the prototype for a simple house of God similar to his first Protestant church in Covent Garden.
Jones cited the Vitruvian precedent for the geometry he proposed, yet failed to mention that the Vitruvian plan was for a theater, not a temple (see Figure 10). While some historians have seen this as a willfully obfuscating omission in the same vein as his simplified reading of Valeriano, Christiane Hille finds in Jones's marginal annotations of Barbaro's Vitruvius acknowledgment of a formal and symbolic relationship between the spaces of the theater and those of the temple.56 In 1599, the London Globe installed a painted wooden canopy referred to within the theater as “the heavens,” which was painted with stars and used to lower actors-as-deities onto the stage during performances—a mechanism believed to date back to Roman theater. At the same time Jones was working on the drawings of Stonehenge, he was also building his own machines for the king's masques to allow the actors to simulate the movements of the gods through the heavens, and thus would have recognized the potentially theatrical and illusionistic implications of religious space.57 Frances Yates was the first historian to give Inigo Jones a place in the hermetic tradition of John Dee and Robert Fludd, occultist astrologers and polymaths whose explanations of the physical universe and its unseen forces relied heavily on natural magic.58 Jones's colleague Jonson was more interested in their magical thinking than was Jones, but Jones also knew their work and cited Dee's writing on “menadry” (the “art of ordering engines for raising weights”) in explaining how Stonehenge might have been erected.59 Yates wrote just one sentence about Stone-Heng Restored, but given Roy Strong's later description of her chapter on Jones (primarily about his work in masques) as her “study of the architect's extraordinary analysis of Stonehenge, which Jones somehow squares with Vitruvius' plan of an ancient theatre,” the reader cannot help but imagine Jones himself as an illusionist.60
The illusionism in Stone-Heng Restored relied on the reader's acceptance of a design project—Jones's drawings of Stonehenge—as something more scientific or objective than it was. Yet it is by no means clear that Jones intended his audience to accept his work unquestioningly. A successful illusion, like one of Jones's courtly masques, requires not belief but the suspension of disbelief, the willingness to participate.61 Caroline van Eck has recently opined that the types of drawings Jones made of Stonehenge, using techniques of orthographic projection borrowed from Alberti and Palladio, were not neutral or scientific at all, but rather active and creative.62 These were techniques used in Jones's time to design buildings, not to record history. Van Eck explains that Stone-Heng Restored exemplified a peculiar and recurring tendency in architectural history written by architects: while the primary object of study is ostensibly the building or design, the relationship of the historian/architect to that object is often evident as highly personal and subjective, and is, in fact, sometimes the central element.
The Most Notable Antiquity shows very clearly that underlying all this is the essential role of the viewer who identifies and selects sources, filters and defines them, and presents them to the reader. Therefore it is not the architectonic object, design or building history that figure most prominently in the themes mentioned here, but the spectator, who looks, records or orders an architectural history to be written or a reconstruction to be made.63
The building in Van Eck's formulation is more a sounding board or canvas for the writer/architect's own ideas and designs than it is an actual object of study—which is not to say that the building's material presence and character are not critical to the outcome of the architect's encounter with the building.
For Jones, Stonehenge was almost a blank canvas in terms of how little he and his contemporaries knew about its history and purpose. It became for him the vehicle by which neoclassicism entered England, even though it had nothing to do with Greco-Roman classical architecture. Horace Walpole, who found Stonehenge “barbarous,” said of it, “It is remarkable, that whoever has treated of that monument, has bestowed on it whatever class of antiquity he was peculiarly fond of.”64 In this way, Stonehenge was a substrate or a medium of Jones's project, rather than its subject matter. Fowles hinted at the site's seductive power and mutability when he wrote that “something in the human mind craves these blank spaces, and theories about them … because they can never be quite disproved.”65
Much more is known about Stonehenge's origins now than when Fowles wrote, but as his language suggests, even as archaeologists learn more about the monument, still more questions arise. This fact recalls Jones's own language at the end of Stone-Heng Restored, acknowledging the difficulty of piloting one's ship into the “Ports of Truths.” The idea of Stonehenge as canvas or medium may seem like a specifically postmodern one, yet even for Sebastiano Serlio (whom Jones read and annotated) the value of ruins for the architect was in large part how they taught him to analyze composition, to “extend his grasp of [architectural] language.”66 Thus, it is not anachronistic to suggest that Jones found as much value in the process of analysis as in the product of his “restoration.”
The role of the viewer is central to the images of Stonehenge made by printmaker Elisha Kirkall and added to the 1725 edition that brought Jones's text together with Charleton's response and Webb's vindication (Figures 14 and 15). In these drawings, significantly more naturalistic and accurate than Jones's, the viewer is part of the view, as several figures admire, comment upon, and give scale to the monument. These images indicate a rising appreciation for the ruin following the work of Jones and his contemporaries, and also the later seventeenth-century archaeological studies of John Aubrey. Unlike Jones's drawings—showing the monument standing in undifferentiated generic space—Kirkall's feature clear indicators of the English countryside, including landscape, plants, and atmosphere. It is tempting to contrast Kirkall's highly affective drawings with Jones's more sober, academic ones; the latter call to mind the rationalist formal analyses that were so much a part of architectural education in the mid-twentieth century, when perspective drawings like Kirkall's fell out of favor.
Indeed, a modern analogue to Jones's operative drawings (masquerading as unassailably scientific diagrams) can be seen in Rudolf Wittkower's modernist-inflected project of finding a “single geometrical formula” for all of Palladio's villas.67 Just as Jones took the leap from a simple circle within a circle to a more complex geometry echoing that of Vitruvius (see Figures 8 and 10), Wittkower distilled Palladian drawings into images sometimes bearing only tenuous relationships to the originals (Figures 16 and 17). The final grid pattern that he extracted from eleven of Palladio's villa plans hardly resembles any one of the villas, yet it is so abstract it cannot easily be challenged. Wittkower, like Jones, relied heavily on the reader's willingness to suspend disbelief. His student Colin Rowe took this diagrammatic abstraction one step further when he established Le Corbusier's Palladianism in his foundational essay “The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa,” ensuring that structure and formalist idealism transcended the details of history for the next several decades of architectural pedagogy.68
Wittkower's and Rowe's many followers so effectively positioned themselves as rigorous and rational interpreters, as opposed to affective ones, that only recently has “affect” again become a legitimate response to architecture and an acceptable avenue of study in many architecture schools.69 “Affect” is understood even by its major advocates and apologists as based in emotion and divorced from rigorous formal analysis.70 Van Eck's insistence on the primacy of Jones as viewer/reader and his experience with Stonehenge is provocative precisely because of its implications for the highly personal, designed actions that complement his colorful storytelling about the Druids and Boudica, among others—implications of affect.
Jones's experience with Stonehenge, the visual and textual records of his responses to it, might call into question our understanding of what it means both to be intellectually rigorous and to allow emotional response a place in architectural analysis and design. In Van Eck's reading, it is possible to understand Jones's work—so rigorously scientific and analytical at first glance—as an intensely affective reading of architecture. This results from the highly deterministic role Jones played in making and presenting his drawings of the monument—drawings that alternate in the viewer's eye between contrivance and fact, between fiction and history—as well as from his expectation of an empathetic relationship between himself and his object and, more crucially, between himself and his readers. Jones's lifelong work in theatrical design and illusion taught him the power of an active audience. Reliance on a relatively new print culture and an almost conversational relationship with his predecessors made him well aware of what he was asking of his readers. Jones instrumentalized Stonehenge to justify a new architectural style that would eventually come to define English architecture, but he also introduced a new way to think about the architect's transformative relationship to precedent and the centrality of the viewer. It was this above all that made him a model for the modern architect.