John Loughborough Pearson

Anthony Quiney

Publicaton Date
May 1979
Standard Number
Yale University Press
320 pages

L. Pearson (1817–97) was one of the leading architects of the Gothic Revival. Although he built a number of country houses, his most outstanding work was ecclesiastical, and in Pevsner’s view his churches of the 1880s are ‘among the finest of their day not only in England but in Europe’. They are characterised by an elegance of form, and a free and original sense of spatial composition that represents one of the pinnacles of achievement of the movement. Among the finest of these churches are Truro Cathedral, St Augustine, Kilburn, and the now-destroyed St John, Red Lion Square, London.

This fascinating study traces the development of Pearson’s career, which spanned two-thirds of the nineteenth century, almost the extent of Queen Victoria’s long reign. His oeuvre provides a unique opportunity to analyse each phase of the Gothic Revival, from the sturdy embodiment of the Ecclesiologists’ ideals at the church of Llangasty Talyllyn and at nearby Treberfydd House, through the vigorous massing of the churches of his middle years, to the unified elegance of his late works, expressed in a new feeling for space and vaulting. It also provides an absorbing account of his friends, his clients, his office and assistants, and contemporary architects.