Jean Tijou

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Hampton Court Palace, screen representing England, c. 1700
Plate from his New Book of Drawings, 1693

Jean Tijou (fl. 1689–1712) was a French Huguenot ironworker. He is known solely through his work in England, where he worked on several of the key English Baroque buildings. Very little is known of his biography. He arrived in England in c. 1689 and enjoyed the patronage of William III and Mary II.[1] He left England for the continent c. 1712.[2] He was father-in-law to the painter of decorative schemes Louis Laguerre who married in St Martin-in-the-Fields in London.[1]

Little else is known of Jean Tijou other than that he was a master metalworker.


His major commissions include gates and railings for Hampton Court Palace, where he worked between 1689 and 1700;[3] he was paid £2,160 2s 0.25d for the wrought iron screens at the river end of the "Privy Garden" at Hampton Court.[4] He also is known to have worked at Kensington Palace. He produced the screens and grilles of St Paul's Cathedral for Sir Christopher Wren, and worked at country houses such as Easton Neston, Burghley and Chatsworth. At Chatsworth his surviving works include the balustrade of the upper flight of the grand staircase and the set of gates known as the Golden Gates, which were moved to their present location at the north entrance to the park in the 19th century.

Tijou elevated blacksmithing to an art with his lavish Baroque sheet metal overlay on iron structures. To achieve this style of artistry, sheet metal is hammered from the rear of the plate to create form and then used to cover fire welds on foundational iron structures such as gates, hinges, fence work or wall deco pieces.[5] Many works by Tijou were gilded.

It is possible that a portrait of Jean Tijou appears at the bottom of the title page of a book entitled A New Book of Drawings Invented and Desined [sic] by John Tijou,[2] in 1693. The plates were engraved by Michiel van der Gucht.[6] The book or album contains 20 designs, and was the first book of ironwork designs published in England.[7]



  1. ^ a b Lister 1957, p. 92.
  2. ^ a b Lister 1957, p. 93.
  3. ^ Harris 1960, p. 4.
  4. ^ Lister 1957, p. 94.
  5. ^ "Engraving of Tijou, Jean on V&A Search the Collections)".
  6. ^ Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. "Album, New Book of Drawings". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  7. ^ V&A Museum


  • Harris, John (1960). English Decorative Ironwork from Contemporary Source Books 1610–1836. London: Alec Tiranti Ltd. OCLC 30213283.
  • Lister, Raymond (1957). Decorative Wrought Ironwork in Great Britain. London: Alec Tiranti Ltd. OCLC 1046341139.

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