One of the most distinguished English Gothic Revival architects. He trained with Ignatius Bonomi and worked with Salvin and P. C. Hardwick before establishing his own practice (1843). At first influenced by A. W. N. Pugin, by the 1850s he began to draw on Continental Gothic for his precedents. His first significant church was St Peter's, Vauxhall, London (1859–65), a robust essay in early French First Pointed, with vaults of brick and stone ribs, plate-tracery, an apsidal chancel, and proportions based on the Golden Section. His greatest works are arguably among the finest Gothic Revival churches in the world, including his soaring St Augustine's, Kilburn, London (1870–97), with a tower and spire derived from St-Étienne, Caen, Normandy, and internal buttresses dividing the aisles into bays in the manner of Albi Cathedral in France. His Truro Cathedral, Cornwall (1880–1910), again drew on Franco-English sources, and his understanding of Gothic vaulting was nowhere better demonstrated. He designed what is one of the noblest Victorian buildings in North-West England: Sts Agnes and Pancras, Ullet Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool (1883–5). He designed St John's Cathedral, Brisbane, Australia (from 1886), but his work was modified by his son, Frank Loughborough Pearson (1864–1947), who was largely responsible for phases I (1906–10) and II (1964–8): it was completed 1988–2001. J. L. Pearson also designed several houses, including Quar Wood, Stow-on-the-Wold, Glos. (1845–9—altered beyond recognition in 1954–8), and Roundwyck, Kirdford, Sussex (1868–70). A list of his works is given in Quiney (1979).
J. Curl (2000 b);Dixon & Muthesius (1985);Quiney (1979);Jane Turner (1996)