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date: 19 November 2019

Pearce, Sir Edward Lovettlocked

(b ?1699; d Dublin, Dec 7, 1733).
  • Noreen Casey


(b ?1699; d Dublin, Dec 7, 1733).

Irish architect. He was the son of Maj.-Gen. Edward Pearce and Frances Lovett, John Vanbrugh’s aunt, and it is likely that he came under Vanbrugh’s guidance at an early age (probably between 1716 and 1723), though there is no documentary evidence of this. However, a collection that includes Pearce’s architectural drawings, as well as those of Vanbrugh (formerly Elton Hall, Cambs; now London, V&A), shows him making use of many of Vanbrugh’s ideas, such as arcaded chimney-stacks, hall galleries, the arrangement of parallel grand staircases on each side of the hall and corridors composed of a series of square compartments. By 1723–4, when he travelled extensively in continental Europe, Pearce clearly had developed a deep interest in architecture, recording many of the buildings seen during his journeys. Particularly revealing are the notes in his copy of Palladio’s Quattro libri, made when he visited the Veneto, where he compared Palladio’s intentions with the reality. On his return to England he probably came into contact with the circle in London of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork; he was constantly to use their ideas, and at times he copied their Palladian buildings almost directly. There is evidence that Pearce was known as a working architect in England before his return to Ireland, and the Elton Hall drawings—which demonstrate the original manner in which he combined ideas taken from Vanbrugh, Palladio and the English Palladians to create his own style—further reveal that he continued to design English houses while resident in Ireland....

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