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English family of architects. They worked in Oxford and in the service of the king during the 15th century and the early 16th.(1) Robert Janyns I (fl 1438–64). His known career is contemporary with a period of development at Oxford University. At All Souls College, founded in 1438 by Archbishop Chichele (?1362–1443), he was mason in charge of building the Front Quad (1438–43), a two-storey range that includes the Old Library and the chapel. His next known commission, the bell-tower (1448–52) for Merton College Chapel, is one of the outstanding buildings of 15th-century Oxford. Its proportions, buttresses, battlements and pinnacles were repeated in William Orchard's Magdalen College Tower (1492–1500). Also in 1448, Janyns entered royal service as warden of masons at Eton College, Berks. His work at Oxford after 1452 probably included surveying the new Divinity Schools (1452–3) as well as further small works for All Souls and Merton, such as the carved panel above the Merton gateway (1463–4).(2) Henry Janyns (fl 1453–84). Probably the son of (1) Robert Janyns I. He served part of his apprenticeship (c. 1453–4) at Eton College and may have worked on the Merton gateway with Robert I. He was commissioned c. 1475 to design the new St George's Chapel at Windsor castle. This, the headquarters of the Order of the Garter, was conceived on a grander scale than the chapel at either Eton or King's College, Cambridge. Although the length of the nave (71 m) was limited by lack of space, it was proportionately wide, requiring extremely shallow vaulting—as had been planned for Eton College Chapel. The five-sided apses that closed the narrow transepts were borrowed from the bay windows of secular architecture. Janyns's complex interior elevations represent the culmination of 15th-century Perpendicular design. He vaulted the choir aisles with fans, filling the central spandrels with quatrefoils enclosed within octagons. By 1484, the last year Janyns's name appears, the eastern end was virtually complete, except for the main vault of the choir.(3) Robert Janyns II (d Oct 1506). Probably the son of (2) Henry Janyns. He may have supervised the building of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, from 1484 and was king's master mason by the time he designed the Henry VII's Tower (completed 1501) at Windsor Castle, his principal documented work. Its oriel windows, with faceted lights derived from contemporary domestic architecture, may have been his invention. He remained at Windsor until 1505. He was also master mason at Greenwich Palace (1503–4) during the construction of the new chapel (destr.). The design of Henry VII's Chapel (1506–9) in Westminster Abbey has been attributed to Janyns on stylistic grounds (see London, §3(i)). Intended as a shrine to Henry VI, it epitomizes the late Perpendicular style. The internal elevations are similar to those at St George's Chapel but are even more lavish, and the design of the bay windows of the aisle was first seen in Janyns's tower at Windsor. The fan vault conceals the greater part of the transverse arches, and the deep tracery serves to conceal the masonry beneath.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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